Annie Dillard tells of a hunter who one day shot an eagle out of the sky. When he inspected his catch, he found the dried skull of a weasel fixed by its jaws to the throat of the bird. Then she unfolds the significance of this strange and unsettling story.

“I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you. Then even death, where you’re going no matter how you live, cannot you part. Seize it and let it seize you up aloft even, till your eyes burn out and drop; let your musky flesh fall off in shreds, and let your very bones unhinge and scatter, loosened over fields, and woods, lightly, thoughtless, from any height at all, from as high as eagles.”