I am off for the weekend to finish two big writing projects, so instead of blabbing here, I'll let one of my favorite writers take over. Here is an excerpt from Jim Harrison's The English Major (a book I enjoy very much, and you should, too)...


"I pulled off the road and took a stroll up a hill in the Ochoco National Forest. I didn't recognize the type of pine I was walking through which were more sparsely needled than the pines of Michigan. Looking upward at their boughs I tripped and fell painfully forward on my chest, my head narrowly missing a large rock. For unclear reasons I began laughing though it was an uncomfortable laughter. I slowly rolled over feeling a sharp ache in my left-side ribs. When I was a kid out in the woods I'd wave my walking stick and say, "I'm the king of all I survey," doubtless got from a children's story. It was not exactly original to have exhausted one form of life and to try and turn to another. I had a sudden stroke of pure luck when a yellow and black-headed Scott's oriole landed in a branch of pine directly above my head. We didn't have this oriole back in Michigan but I was familiar with it from my third-grade Audubon cards. I stared up at this bird and it stared back down at me. Parts of life are truly beautiful I thought. Here I was flat on my back in an alien forest with an intermittent throb in my ribs and along comes a bird yellow as liquid sun to keep me company. My friend AD told me that in some primitive culture, I forget which, the souls of stillborn or aborted babies are thought to reside in birds. I wondered where Lola's (the dog) departed soul resided. She knew enough not to bother porcupines because when she was young she had gotten a few quills in her nose. However, she remained fascinated with them and would sit there under a tree and stare up at porcupines for hours. I discarded the porcupine as a home for Lola's soul and then decided the subject was beyond my ken. Life is clueless in such matters."