Soon after the storm sunlight appeared and I continued on toward my ravens, noting that the lightning had hit a promontory of dune turning a patch into a glassy substance. My ears were still ringing when I thought I saw my father, perhaps fifty yards away, leading a group of girls who were dancing along the edge facing Lake Superior. My sister was close behind and there were six other girls I had known, three of whom had committed suicide, and three who had died in accidents or from cancer. My body felt hollow and I attributed this vision to the effect of close lightning strikes, the electricity in the air prodding an unused part of my brain. The group headed down the face of the dunes and disappeared into the water. At that moment I realized how often I was a vulnerable, fragile, and frightened man who wondered so deeply how he got from there to here, the questionable nature of the arc or trajectory that accumulates its energy when we are so young and then we are carried with it despite the presumed control over the character we have constructed moment by moment.
— from Jim Harrison’s essay “The Real World” in his memoir Off to the Side (2002)