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Deep Woods, Wild Waters

A Memoir

2017
Author:

Douglas Wood

Deep Woods, Wild Waters

The author of Old Turtle and a longtime wilderness guide charts a journey through the wilds of nature and the twists and turns of daily life

An author and expert woodsman and wilderness canoe guide, Douglas Wood offers all his storytelling and bushwhacking skills as he takes us hurtling down wild rapids, crossing stormy lakes, or simply navigating the treacherous currents and twisty trails of everyday life. A warm, generous, and knowing guide, Wood maps a journey that “anyone can take, through a landscape anyone can know.”

Inviting as a dip in a cool northern lake on a sizzling summer day, Deep Woods, Wild Waters is a true gift. Douglas Wood’s memoir conveys the haunting beauty of the Northwoods with a naturalist’s eye. He recounts his life as a guide, musician, and writer—boy, father, and grandfather—and beckons readers to step away from modern, fast-paced lives to slow down, breathe, and discover the cosmos in a grain of sand.

Mary Casanova, author of Ice-Out

Wait, young Douglas’s grandfather says as the bobber twitches on the surface of Little Lake. Be patient. And so begins an encounter with the promise and wonder of nature that will last a lifetime. Deep Woods, Wild Waters traces the winding path that carried Douglas Wood from one wonder to the next, through a landscape of rocks, woods, and waters, with stops along the way for questions and reflections that link human nature to the larger mysteries of the natural world.

Like life itself, the author’s way is not linear. One landmark leads back to a favorite campsite, another prompts him to consider the “gospel of rocks,” another launches him into the wilderness beyond the stars—a contemplation of time and space and humanity’s place in all of it. The creator of thirty-four books, including the classic Old Turtle, and an expert woodsman and wilderness canoe guide, Wood brings all his storytelling and bushwhacking skills to bear as he takes us hurtling down wild rapids, crossing stormy lakes, or simply navigating the treacherous currents and twisty trails of everyday life.

A warm, generous, and knowing guide, Wood maps a journey that, as he says, “anyone can take, through a landscape anyone can know.” Turning the pages, hiking the portages, running the rapids, or scanning the wild country from high promontory, he invites us to say, in a soul-satisfying moment of recognition, “I know that place.”

Deep Woods, Wild Waters

Douglas Wood’s first book, Old Turtle, was hailed as an “instant classic.” His other works, including the New York Times bestseller Grandad’s Prayers of the Earth and his humorous Can’t Do series, have earned such honors as the American Booksellers Book of the Year Award, the Christopher Medal, Parents’ Choice Award, International Reading Association Book of the Year Award, Smithsonian Notable Books for Children Award, Storytelling World Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Minnesota Association for Environmental Education. He has read his books at the White House and New York’s Lincoln Center. He lives with his family in a log cabin on the Mississippi River.

Deep Woods, Wild Waters

Inviting as a dip in a cool northern lake on a sizzling summer day, Deep Woods, Wild Waters is a true gift. Douglas Wood’s memoir conveys the haunting beauty of the Northwoods with a naturalist’s eye. He recounts his life as a guide, musician, and writer—boy, father, and grandfather—and beckons readers to step away from modern, fast-paced lives to slow down, breathe, and discover the cosmos in a grain of sand.

Mary Casanova, author of Ice-Out

I felt I was traveling right alongside Douglas Wood while reading his evocative life stories. The depth of his emotional honesty is powerful and gives us a peek into why he creates such fine work. This book is a treasure.

Jim Brandenburg, photographer and author

In Deep Woods, Wild Waters, Douglas Wood has written more than a beautiful memoir. With the eyes of an artist, the soul of a poet, and the easygoing humor of a backwoods guide, he takes us on a journey through our shared landscape of mind and spirit, pointing out some of the major landmarks and encouraging us to go out and explore.

David Backes, author of A Wilderness Within: The Life of Sigurd F. Olson

Deep Woods, Wild Waters is the most authentic and rich of Douglas Wood’s writings yet. It is as fluid as the water he paddles, as grand as the endless skyline he sees before him, and as poetic as the sound of the breeze in the pines and the symphony of the birds of a morning. Doug finds himself in this book. His images and stories urge you to find yourself in the only place it can truly be done—in nature. With Deep Woods, Wild Waters, Doug has, thus, risen to the pantheon of the great nature writers.

Don Shelby, explorer and veteran journalist

Douglas Wood has become much more than an outdoor writer, he has become an icon of the North Woods, and through his travels, paddles, books, and lectures he has moved thousands of people. He continues that tradition in this book. Like Sigurd Olson, he takes the reader along, he contemplates and shares, and in the end the knowledge belongs to the reader, and the desire to paddle, explore, and be outside is the true gift—the inspiration—of his writing.

Mike Link, author and former Director of the Audubon Center of the North Woods

While most of us are left speechless by gilded ripples on a moonswept lake, the mesmerizing call of the loon, or the crimson glow of embers, Douglas Wood has the words and weaves them well. He puts in poetic prose what we’ve all wanted to articulate during those magical moments of epiphany in the natural world. Doug refers to his as a ‘lucky life.’ We all share in that great fortune through this fine book.

Paul Schurke, polar explorer, author, and environmental educator

Douglas Wood's memoir is a classic. It's a book readers will want to return to again and again. There is a lovely flow and order to it all, but a reader can start at the beginning, the middle, or the end—the essays are that good. In fact, ‘The Stars of Sandfly’ alone is worth the purchase of the book.

Larry Dolphin, former Director of the J.C. Hormel Nature Center

Deep Woods, Wild Waters

Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
The Little Lake
Echo Island to Lost Bay
The Secret Forest
Streams of Consciousness
The Gospel of Rocks
Time Wasted
Back to the Garden
Into a Smaller World
The Great Day That Dawns
Backcast
The Tao of the Canoe
Turtle Stories
A Poem of Flowers
By the Fire
The Last Sleep-Out
The Promontory
The Art of the Tale: The Cold Demise of Coffee Cup Charlie
Distant Thunder
Haunts of the Manitou
The Wild Wind
Marshes of Doubt
Swinging the Coffee
The Quest
Finding the Fawn
Gumption
The Stick Throwers
The Club
Hunting for Something Ethereal
Where Red Squirrels Live
Changing Skies
Base Camp
The Landscape of Time
Hello to Life
Downstream
The Stars of Sandfly
The Education of a Grandfather
All One Trip
Afterword