Jim Harrison is a personal favorite of mine now, not that I didn’t appreciate his writing as a high schooler (I really did) but something about it now, it all takes me where I need to go and I can’t read and re-read his stuff enough- check it out, all of it. He’s firmly in the lifetime ‘must-read’ category, and not because he’s a fly fisherman.
here’s just some quotes from his recent work “Returning to Earth” because with a long writing career and 25 published books there is too much good material….so just go read all of ’em.
“For about a half an hour I was seeing things int he corners and at the tops of my eyes under the lids. I began to wonder where dreams were stored because the things I was seeing were blurred but they were sure enough combinations of animals. The female bear that had hung around the hill near me had sprouted great big raven wings, and there was also an otter with Clare’s face. I had called out and Cynthia came down the stairs and sent Clare off to bed. I said I was soorry to disturb her but my mind was playing tricks. She teased me by saying what I had said years ago, “Whoever we are isn’t for certain”
“My dad, Clarence , used to joke that you don’t tell time anything because it never wanted to hear from us”
“it was plain to me that these three ravens wanted to know why I was sitting there. I wasn’t so sure myself but I told them that the first day I had a real short vision that I was going to get sick and die. This was more than two years before I got diagnosed. I told them I wasn’t too much bothered by my coming death because it’s what happens to all living things sooner orlater. Later would be better but it’s not for me to decide. I also told these ravens about a funeral of their kind I had seen a few miles inland from Whitefish Point a few years back. A real old raven had fallen slowly down through the branches of a hemlock tree over a period of two hours, grabbing hold of a branch now and then with his or her last strength, while around the bird about three dozen of his family were whirling. I heard the soft sound when he finally hit the ground. I got the feeling that one of the three ravens had been there as it was less than a hundred miles away. They showed no signs of leaving so I also told them of my vision of my mother and father sitting beside a creek with a sleeping bear beside them as if it was a pet dog. My mother and father looked wonderful and they said, “Don’t be afraid to come home, son.” In three days I was able to see how creatures, including insects looked at me rather than just how I looked at them. I became the garter snake that tested the air beside my left knee and the two chickadees that landed on my head. I was lucky enough to have my body fly over the countries of the earth and also to walk the bottom of the oceans, which I’d always been curious about. I was scared at one point when I decended into the earth and when I came up I was no longer there.”
“I just liked to work hard but now I wish I had learned more about how the world works. There’s way too much I don’t understand. One thing I can’t get my head around is no one seems equipped to understand the passage of time.”