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Runes of the North


Sigurd F Olson
Illustrations by Robert Hines

Runes of the North

Olson’s spiritual reflections on the northern wilderness, now available in paper for the first time.

Olson weaves the legends and myths of the northern vastness of Canada and Alaska with his own stories and experiences as an explorer, writer, grandfather, and biologist.

In Runes of the North Sigurd Olson explores his feelings about the haunting appeal of the wilderness. He recounts how the tales and legends of the northern vastness of Canada and Alaska have influenced him.

In the introduction, Olson writes “My runes come from the wilderness, for in its solitude, silence, and freedom . . . . I know there are moments of insight when ancient truths do stand out more vividly, and one senses anew his relationship to the earth and to all life.”

Runes of the North, now in paperback for the first time, explores these values, insights, and truths. Olson weaves the tales and myths with his own stories and experiences as an explorer, writer, grandfather, and biologist. “This inner world has to do with the wilderness from which we came,” he writes, “timelessness, cosmic rhythms, and the deep feelings men have for an unchanged environment.”

Olson tells of Native American legends and traditions, like dream catchers and wild rice harvests, as well as the pure pleasure of the Finnish sauna. Each story portrays the special magic one finds in the wilderness and is filled with moments, that Olson writes, “are worth waiting for, and when they come in some unheralded instant of knowing, they are of the purest gold.”

Runes of the North is a mystical and reflective guide to the northern wilderness written with a oneness and communion with nature that is unique to Sigurd Olson. It is a work filled with beauty, wisdom, and renewal.

Runes of the North

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.

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