Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Time in the Woods through the Magic of a Book

"We touched a match to the kindling, and soon the smells of early morning, the damp smells of wet rocks and duff, were joined by the richness of coffee and frying bacon. We sat close, for the air was chilly, and ate our breakfast with an eye to the east and the mouth of the river."—Sigurd Olson, 1956
Sometimes when I am reading, I seem to be transported, and the realness of feeling is incredible. I remember one day when I was in an office breakroom and I read this passage. I was preparing for my day by drinking a cup of tea and trying to relax for a few minutes while reading "The Loons of Lac La Croix," in Olson's The Singing Wilderness. I was in a windowless room of concrete and steel, and I would remain indoors for the rest of the day. But for a few minutes I was transported to the canoe country of the great north woods.

Suddenly, as if by spell, I was surrounded by huge boulders and tall pines on the edge of a lake. Campfire smoke blended with the smells of rich, damp earth. My cold fingers were warmed by the quick, bright flames, and I could taste and smell the fresh bacon and coffee. And then, just as suddenly, my time was up and I had to douse the fire and report for work.

Although the pages were closed and the book put away, my time in the woods remained and carried me through the day. I marvel at the magic of a good book.



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