I’m a lucky man. I was caught in rush hour traffic coming out of Houston yesterday afternoon, but what could have been a miserable and frustrating trip was actually quite pleasant. I had Louis L’Amour  in the car with me. At least, I had a collection of some of his western short stories on CD. Within moments after turning on the player I was completely transported to another time and place. L’Amour’s stories are visceral; they have a way of making you feel the elements in your body: the heat the cold and rain, the smell of leather, horses and wind, even the soft hand of death. But this is more than just escapism. He writes about men and women who are survivors. They are often pitted against the elements or one another, and have to reach far down inside themselves to find the will to go on. The men are often strong, even when they are evil. And L’Amour was writing about the deep strength of women long before it was the fashion. He knew without ever saying it directly, that each of us is the product of the choices we have made – and are making. So, do yourself a favor. If you are commuting to and from work (or driving any distance at all, for that matter), go to the library and get some Louis L’Amour stories in audio format, and turn that lousy drive into something you hate to see come to an end.