Bruce Holbert

What Is The West? 

"My father often hauled me into the woods for elk hunts. Other instances, we scoured the coulees and scablands for deer or birds or fishing holes. The vistas astonished me, glacial lake blues I’d never contemplated and so clear the gravel bottoms glistened and light that seemed liquid itself. I chewed grasses in my initial forays into philosophy and felt kin to the animals. Nights, my father and I would gaze at the sky, neither of us speaking, except to cuss the satellites and space stations and occasional airliners that interrupted starlight thousands of years old and the darkness even more ancient. I once described a scene as perfect, but my father said no. It could only be perfect if no one was here.

 

The west is a knot of myth and country worthy of Jung and we’ve tugged at both ends until it can’t be undone.  

 

Self-annihilation is our single dream."

Bruce Holbert grew up in the Grand Coulee near the Columbia River. His family was among the first settlers of this country. He is the author of Lonesome Animals, andThe Hour of Lead,  which won the Washington State Book Award 2015, and Whiskey, released this spring.