Sigurd F. Olson

While reading Ted Moores’ excellent book Canoecraft recently, a quote by Sig Olson practically jumped off the page and slapped me in the face. I was struck by it so much that I searched out the surrounding text & posted the whole thing on Facebook that night. It was true in 1956 when he published it inside his excellent book The Singing Wilderness Searching for it today so I could post it here, I discovered that the quote I put on Facebook wasn’t even exactly complete. The first sentences which were left off absolutely ties it together.

“The movement of a canoe is like a reed in the wind. Silence is part of it, and the sounds of lapping water, bird songs, and wind in the trees. It is part of the medium through which it floats, the sky, the water, the shores….There is magic in the feel of a paddle and the movement of a canoe, a magic compounded of distance, adventure, solitude, and peace. The way of a canoe is the way of the wilderness, and of a freedom almost forgotten. It is an antidote to insecurity, the open door to waterways of ages past and a way of life with profound and abiding satisfactions. When a man is part of his canoe, he is part of all that canoes have ever known.”

And that is why I love canoeing & the wilderness.

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