Paddle Whispers

Paddle Whispers

written and illustrated by Douglas Wood
Copyright Date: 1993
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5749/j.ctttsrwp
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  • Book Info
    Paddle Whispers
    Book Description:

    Through poetic text and drawings, woven gracefully with quotes by John Muir, Walking Buffalo, Sigurd F. Olson, Henry David Thoreau, and others, Douglas Wood traces a journey by paddle and canoe that renews the spirit.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9800-4
    Subjects: Biological Sciences

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-x)
  2. Foreword
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Douglas Wood

    I began writing these thoughts for myself, in order to understand a landscape. Two landscapes, really—that of the North, the great swath of rock, forest, and water that has held me in its spell since childhood, and that of my own life. I wanted to ponder the landmarks I found—the meanings within island and stream, storm and sunrise, boulder and moccasin flower.

    In such a search, one travels alone. But along the way I often found the markings of others who had been there before me—a blaze along the trail, a small stack of split wood beside...

  3. Going in ...
    (pp. 1-20)

    Dawn in the North Woods. The silence of rocks. A sleeping lake, wrapped in night blankets of fog. The paddle whispers, the canoe glides. From far ahead I hear rising the long, lone wail of a single loon.

    From green-black walls of forest begin to float the first madrigals—white-throated sparrows and hermit trushes and veeries. A heron flaps ahead into the mist, settles, moves again. A kingfisher swoops close by, then rattles from a dead branch.

    The sun climbs over the pines. Over the spruces. Over Saganaga, Kabetogama, Nistowiak, Namew, Athabaska. And ten thousand other places with no names....

  4. Markings ...
    (pp. 21-150)

    Evening, and first camp. A late cup of sweetgale tea, the leaves gathered from along the shore. The evening star begins to shine as if it means to challenge the moon, and the moon, just a sliver, begins to slide down a dark blue slope of western sky. Shadows lengthen and fling themselves across silvered water. A loon begins to wail and pauses in mid-lonesome; a barred owl hoots from the black shoreline across the lake.

    The North is singing all her old songs—even the whine of the mosquitoes that eventually drive me into the safety of the tent....

  5. Going out ...
    (pp. 151-172)

    Part of this journey—maybe it’s the whole thing—is that there is something here, something big—and small—that I am trying to be a part of. Or at least to understand, or just to touch. It’s . . . the way the world works. The way things are. Reality.

    Reality, right. And just what does that mean? Isn’t each person’s reality different from every other person’s? And it’s axiomatic that any human mind, being finite, cannot begin to know the infinite.

    But maybe it’s not done just with the mind, this knowing. Maybe it’s also done with the...

  6. Afterword
    (pp. 173-175)

    In a journey of discovery such as this, one travels alone. This has always been true. But it is only half true. The other half of the truth is that younevergo alone. Alone, you come to meet the night sky, the sounds of wild things, fears, and doubts. You meet the universe alone. But in the search, in your pain and in your joy, you bring the past and future and all the world with you—into the meditation, into the voyage, into the vision quest. In your aloneness yourepresentthe world; and what is found—secrets,...

  7. Back Matter
    (pp. 176-176)