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Listening Point

1997
Author:

Sigurd F Olson
Illustrations by Francis Lee Jaques

Listening Point

Poetic meditations about Olson’s cabin and his life there.

This long-awaited paperback edition of a cabin-reading classic tells the story of Olson’s Listening Point from his first night of sleeping under the stars, to the eventual building of his retreat there.

Mr. Olson brings to his writing a native’s perception of the north country and the happy gift of making readers participate in his appreciation of trees and plants and animals.

Atlantic Monthly

Poetic meditations about Olson’s cabin and his life there, now available in paper for the first time.

Many people have a special place where they go to experience nature. Perhaps it is a cabin, or a campsite, or a favorite hiking trail. For Sigurd Olson it was a bare glaciated spit of rock in the magnificent Quetico-Superior country of northern Minnesota. He called it his Listening Point, and it is at the center of his book of the same name.

Listening Point is Olson’s second book, with over 40,000 copies sold in hardcover. Strikingly illustrated with drawings by Francis Lee Jaques, this book tells the story of Olson’s Listening Point from his first night sleeping there under the stars to the eventual building of a cabin. “From this one place I would explore the entire north and all life, including my own,” he writes. “For me it would be a listening-post from which I might even hear the music of the spheres.”

Through deeply personal stories, Olson brings life in the woods alive. He traces the history of a fallen leaf, explains the power of a canoe paddle cutting through the water, and the magic of listening to the rain pour on his tent flaps.

“Listening Point is dedicated to recapturing this almost forgotten sense of wonder and learning from rocks and trees and all the life that is found there, truths that can encompass all,” he writes. “Through a vein of rose quartz at its tip can be read the geological history of the planet, from an old pine stump the ecological succession of the plant kingdom, from an Indian legend the story of the dreams of all mankind.”

Considered by some to contain Olson’s most vivid and moving passages, Listening Point is the nature lover’s companion for hearing the depth and beauty of the great outdoors.

Listening Point

Sigurd F. Olson (1899-1982) was one of the greatest environmentalists of the twentieth century. An award-winning conservation activist and best-selling author, Olson introduced a generation ad Americans to the importance of wilderness. He served as president of the Wilderness Society and the National Parks Association and was honored by the Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation for his work. Olson’s nine books frequently appeared on best-seller lists across the nation.

Listening Point

Mr. Olson brings to his writing a native’s perception of the north country and the happy gift of making readers participate in his appreciation of trees and plants and animals.

Atlantic Monthly

Easy and entertaining style. Everyday common events become uncommon as Mr. Olson describes them. He tells us of the early French explorers, and history travels with him-not dragged in, but as a natural dimension, giving depth to the scene, wherever he paddles his canoe. The illustrations by the ever-reliable Mr. Jaques come up to all that we have learned to expect of his unaffected artistry.

New York Times

I should imagine that Sigurd Olson and Francis Lee Jaques enjoy one of the most harmonious author-illustrator relationships extant. They seem to appreciate the same things-and, as closely as their different mediums allow, to express their appreciation in the same terms. Listening Point, like its predecessor, is a book of deep simplicity, of beauty, of knowledge of-and love for-the wilderness past and the wilderness present. It is hard to recommend this book too highly.

San Francisco Chronicle