Page 13: Some people describe the sound of a tornado as akin to a freight train, which is like comparing a wolf to a beagle. I have sat with Lola and a brace of bear, directly beneath rolling trains on the Dogtown trestle bridge over the Ohio River: they’re rhythmic, clattering, dependable, and their sound, though loud, suggests a sort of restrained power. As I clutched my head between those poplar roots what I heard was purely chaotic, an unhinged and unpredictable malevolence, demon song; lightning struck twice nearby and I could not hear the thunderclaps because the whole chorus of hell overwhelmed them.
Page 53: Wood thrushes were my best informants. Neighboring pairs sing to each other in a chain of call-and-response that occurs in every wood in the Midwest. If one pair fell silent I could place the intruder within fifty or sixty feet of a nest tree. A male indigo bunting will try desperately to get your attention if you stray near its nest—usually, in my experience, by leading you into the thorniest, muddiest, hottest smilax thicket nearby. Warblers are passionate about warbling and any reticence from them was a likely sign.
Page 73: The reason they make you wear an orange jumpsuit is so you won’t talk back to the judge. When someone says you’re free to go, and you’re wearing handcuffs, you might be inclined to argue. But you’ve just spent the night on a hard narrow cot and you look ridiculous, so you don’t.
Pages 96-97: Bowfishing, at least as practiced in Southern Indiana, combines hunting and angling while eliminating while eliminating the need for the skills of either. You sit in a rowboat firing arrows at large targets three and four feet away in three feet of water. It’s considered a good date in Jefferson....
Page 124: Indianapolis is the twelfth-largest city in the United States, but it feels like the country’s largest suburb; it is all sprawl and you spend half of every day in your car. There is nowhere on earth I detest more.
Page 197: Some people go ga-ga for an owl or an eagle—it’s my job to encourage that now. And it’s a good thing. But privately, I prefer a bird that doesn’t shit in its own nest. I had grown more bitter with every clump of severed tails I threw in the trash can.
Page 203: Vermont has bears. I like bears. ... Vermont also has moose and mountains and other natural glories, all of which I enjoy. But they don’t—can’t—call my name the way Indiana woodland used to; the Ohio and Wabash rivers have a way with words that our local New England brook can’t match.... Vermont has famous fall foliage, too, but compared to Box County in October, Vermont is a painting Gauguin left out in the rain.