The Cheyenne had a saying, and the Lakota, too: “When your life is tepid and you’re bored just follow your dog and act like your dog all day.” That’s been known to perk you up.
~Author Jim Harrison
One of my favorite Michigan authors, Jerry Dennis, interviewed Michigan literary icon Jim Harrison in Traverse Magazine. Jerry is a noted outdoor writer, and I think his interview of Harrison is one of the best. A little taste:
JD: You often describe yourself as an “outdoorsman and a man of letters.” Why is being outdoors so important to you?
JH: Very early my dad would take me trout fishing because you know I’d had my eye put out and I needed extra attention. I remember asking him the difference between animals and us and he said, “Nothing. They just live outside and we live inside.” Which struck me very hard at the time, because I could look at animals and say, “I’m one of you.” The real schizophrenia of the nature movement, if you ask me, was to think you could separate yourself from nature. Even Shakespeare says “we are nature, too.” So there’s this sense of schizophrenia to think you’re different or more important than a bird.
JD: In your writing you’ve mentioned the “mythical underpinnings” that connect us with animals. Is that something you can elaborate on?
JH: Oden, that Scandinavian god, always had ravens standing on his shoulders. Myths, of course, are full of our other creatures. I would see bears almost daily in the U.P. They would wander around my cabin, hog my sunflower seeds, and I got to know a couple of them real well. I’d come home from the bar and a bear would be standing by the side of my driveway and I’d open my window and he’d put his chin on my door sill and I’d scratch his ears. They get used to it. But I’d never feed them near the cabin, that’s where you make a mistake. I’d put a fish on a stump about a hundred yards from the cabin.
There’s lots more, I really encourage you to read it!
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