When you read a good book, its author for a little while becomes your friend. Jim Harrison was my friend since 2007, when I first read Returning to Earth. He published a book every year, and I read them all. His amazement and terror at the natural world resonated with mine, particularly in the novels Dalva, The Road Home, True North, and the aforementioned Returning to Earth. He died on Saturday, 78 years old. It’s said he died in his study, laboring over a poem. That’s an ending he would’ve preferred, I think.
What do you say when a friend dies? As recently as a few weeks ago I’d dreamed of visiting him at his ranch in Montana, or writing him a letter. Goodbye, Jim Harrison.