Why is it so great? I have come to love bagpipes, perhaps because they conjur special moments in my life, perhaps because they are rooted in my maternal heritage. But I know many cringe at their screech and whine. Outdoors writer Bill Monroe transcends both views when he equates the lonely sound of a bagpipe to an equally lonely one in nature – making them each more beautiful. The simple line opens a tribute that Monroe wrote upon the burial of longtime friend Tom McAllister, whose ashes were taken home to a favorite island in the Metolius River, under the watch of the Oregon Cascades. The entire piece is just 11 short paragraphs, yet conveys a lifetime of affection and strong sense of character, and challenges any notion that deadline writing can’t be poetry.

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