Quintessence

There are no bird dogs prettier than Elhew poinIters, and no pointers prettier than Daniel Riviera’s.

Young Maggie just oozes style, at home and in the field , Aad his slightly older male Ferd, masked against the ubiquitous and deadly foxheads that almost killed him last year {“California, land of killer grass”)

And Daniel’s new second gun, fitted and modified for him by Diggory Haddoke, 16 bore Holloway and Naughton, the only sideplate gun I ever liked. (“First” is a Purdey back action hammergun like Lord Ripon’s or King Edward’s (“God the Father shoots a hammer Purdey”)of course.-

Hauksbee?

“…Many of the stories, particularly those set in Simla, shared the high spirits of Departmental Ditties. Simla was Rud’s Illyria, a place where everyone fell in love, usually inappropriately; where identities were mistaken; where tricks were played on the self-regarding and the unwary; and where there were occasional glimpses of a darker undertow. A number of these stories features the machinations of the witty widow, Mrs Hauksbee. Based partly on his own mother and partly on a Mrs Isabella Burton, she was an early example of Rud’s lifelong fascination with strong, self-determining, older women and would soon become one of his best-known characters. ‘Kidnapped’ contained an admiring résumé of Mrs Hauksbee’s powers, describing her as ‘the most wonderful woman in India’ with ‘the wisdom of the Serpent, the logical coherence of the Man, the fearlessness of the Child, and the triple intuition of the Woman’. (Simla must have had its fair share of would-be Mrs Hauksbees, and Rud’s first readers no doubt enjoyed the tease of trying to guess her true identity.)

Anthony Bourdain, RIP

Tony Bourdain finally lost the battle with depression. I thought he had beat it. Does anyone?

Anne Hocker decided to remember him through this CNN piece on Montana. It is pure Bourdain, right down to the politics–perfect:

You may be the most cynical, born and bred, citified lefty like me — instinctively skeptical of big concepts like “patriotism,” relatively foreign to hunting culture, unused to wide open spaces.

But spend any length of time traveling around Montana, and you will understand what all that “purple mountain majesties” is all about.

You’ll soon be wrapping yourself in the flag and yelling, “America, **** yeah!” with an absolute and nonironic sincerity that will take you by surprise.

You will understand why and what people fought and died for — or at least perceived themselves to be fighting and dying for — either defending Native American hunting grounds against Custer or “defending America” against foreign aggressors. And you will be stunned, stunned and silenced by the breathtaking, magnificent beauty of Montana’s wide open spaces.

Even in Butte, a place as scarred, poisoned and denuded by rapacious capitalist excesses as a place could be, you will see things, beautiful, noble even — a testament to generations of hard work, innovation and the aspirations of generations of people from all over the world who traveled to Montana to tunnel deep into the earth in search of gold and then copper, a better life for themselves and their families.

Even the hard men, the copper barons who sent them down into the ground, you will find yourself begrudgingly admiring their determination, their outsized dreams, their unwavering belief in themselves and the earth’s ability to provide limitless wealth.

And when you look up at the night skies over Montana, it’s hard not to think that we can’t be alone on this rock, that there isn’t something else out there or up there, in charge of this whole crazy-ass enterprise.

Or at least, that’s what I was thinking, after a long day of pheasant hunting, perhaps a bit too much bourbon and Joe Rogan demonstrating an Imanari choke from omoplata (he damn near cranked my head off).

I flopped onto my back, stared up at the universe and thought, as I always do in Montana, “Damn! I had no idea the sky was so big!”

We show you a lot of beautiful spaces and very nice people in this episode, but its beating heart, and the principal reason I’ve always come to Montana, is Jim Harrison — poet, author and great American and a hero of mine and millions of others around the world.

Shortly after the filming of this episode, Jim passed away, only a few months after the death of his beloved wife of many years, Linda.

It is very likely that this is the last footage taken of him.

To the very end, he 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.
There were none like him while he lived. There will be none like him now that he’s gone.

He was a hero to me, an inspiration, a man I was honored and grateful to have known and spent time with. And I am proud that we were able to capture his voice, his words, for you.

I leave you with a poem Jim wrote. We use it in the episode, but I want to reprint it here. It seems kind of perfect now that Jim’s finally slipped his chain.

BARKING
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.