Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"The longest journey of my life was a short one..."

In the middle of May in 1988, late on a rainy Sunday afternoon, my nine-year-old son Jesse disappeared from a hollow near a trail not far from the house on Island Beach where he was born. That afternoon we found only two signs. One was a large, fresh print of a cougar's foot -- just one, pressed into the brown, speckled sand -- on the next beach near a creek. The other was Jesse's orange rubber ball, tennis-size, in the woods, on the trail near where my son-in-law left him while on a walk. The ball on the ground I can still see clearly; throbbing against the wet green, looking so out of place; but whole, globelike, as if orbiting. . .

That's from Tofino's Frank Harper, out of his book Journeys. Our comrade Grant Shilling introduces Tyee readers to Frank and his stories here.

Speaking of books, news comes from John Parsley at Thomas Dunne Books in New York: My book Waiting for the Macaws, coming out in the U.S. with Thomas Dunne in April as The Sixth Extinction: Journeys Among The Lost and the Left Behind, just got a "starred review" in Publishers' Weekly, which is apparently a pretty good thing. There's a chapter in the book called Ghost of the Woods, woven around a history of cougars in North America since the Pleistocene. The idea for that chapter began with a cover story I wrote for Canadian Geographic.


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