Earlier this week, I read Anthony Bourdain’s tribute to Jim Harrison. Since then, it has stayed in my mind.
To the very end, ate like a champion, smoked like a chimney, lusted (at least in his heart) after nearly every woman he saw, drank wine in quantities that would be considered injudicious in a man half his age, and most importantly, got up and wrote each and every day — brilliant, incisive, thrilling sentences and verses that will live forever. He died, I am told, with pen in hand.
Our neighbors dug up their lawn, and in the dry dirt, five small house sparrows washed themselves with dust. When they flew, their were little indentations where their bodies had been. I don’t know where they are now.
Today I got up and bought eggs at the market. And a chicken and a bag of strawberries and all the stone fruits I can’t bear to say no to. Today I made strawberry ice cream. Today I got up and talked with my son and held my daughter and smiled at my husband. Today I wrote sentences neither incisive nor thrilling. And today I read, again, the poem that Jim Harrison wrote, that Bourdain closes with:
The moon comes up.
The moon goes down.
This is to inform you
that I didn’t die young.
Age swept past me
but I caught up.
Spring has begun here and each day
brings new birds up from Mexico.
Yesterday I got a call from the outside
world but I said no in thunder.
I was a dog on a short chain
and now there’s no chain.