Heller’s Fly-By

Because I’m at work and because it’s slow and because this passage from Peter Heller’s The Dog Stars caught me by surprise, took me so fully on its soaring, coursing journey, I’m posting it here.

“Back then I took up flying with the sense of coming to something I had been meant to do all my life. Many people who fly feel this way and I think it has more to do with some kind of treetop or clifftop gene than with any sense of unbounded freedom or metaphors of the soaring spirit. The way the earth resolves. The way the landscape falls into place around the drainages, the capillaries and arteries of falling water: mountain slopes bunched and wrinkled, wringing themselves into the furrows of couloir and creek, draw and chasm, the low places defining the spurs and ridges and foothills the way creases define the planes of a face, lower down the canyon cuts, and then the swales and valleys of the lowest slopes, the sinuous rivers and the dry beds where water used to run seeming to hold the hills and the waves of the high plains all together and not the other way around. The way the settlements sprawl and then congregate at these rivers and mass at ever confluence. I thought: It’s a view that should surprise us but it doesn’t. We have seen it before and interpret the terrain below with the same ease we walk the banks of a creek and know where to place our feet.”    (from The Dog Stars, p. 49)

Go buy this book–for Christmas or whatever–and read it aloud to your friends and kids and co-workers. Spreading great art has never been easier

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