I love this NYT Op-Ed by David George Haskell, “Nature’s Case for Same-Sex Marriage“. It’s such a peak example of what you can do with the op-ed format: brief, clear, well-informed, but lyrical as the best nature writing. I think it’s an exquisite piece.
An inspection of the bark of these trees reveals garden snails grazing on thin, vertical lawns of lichens, yeasts and algae. Like the trees, each sexually mature snail makes both egg and sperm. Mating among these gastropods is charged with romantic tension; two males and two females are caught up in every embrace. Downstream from the Mall, at the outlet of the Potomac, marine snails called slipper shells add yet another twist: they begin life as males, before maturing into females.