Partial View

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We wake to a world in which every choice is the wrong one. There should have been corn, not squash, in the garden; an oak, not a willow, in the side yard. Long ago, parents chose the wrong town in which to live and raise children, and every conversation since has been a limitation. Of an artist’s most important piece, critics —most of them—agree, though easily, confidently, they could have chosen another. Robert Carter III, not Washington. Where might a nation be? What voice at its core? John Woolman, not Benjamin Franklin. A different psalm than the 23rd. The novels we have, as rich as they are, weighed against the ones we’ve overlooked, the ones no one wrote. An incompleteness, a partial view. A meadow that might have been a Louvre, except a contractor built a row of houses. The call of one voice, the answer of another, neither the grace that might have been spoken.