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Trials by Wildfire

In Search of the New Warrior Spirit

2001
Author:

Peter M. Leschak

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“Everyone faces a ‘twilight struggle’ sometime, an episode where there are few straight and level paths, no easy solutions, where allies and enemies dress in shades of gray, and double-edged swords are all that can be wielded.” from Trials by Wildfire

In the classic genre of Norman Maclean’s Young Men and Fire...

Journey with Peter Leschak, wildland firefighter, as he explores the warrior spirit--a genderless code emphasizing personal integrity, responsibility, patience, will, commitment, and inner courage, forged through life’s “trials by fire.”

Using his professional experiences fighting forest fires as a vivid metaphor for the warrior code, Peter weaves captivating tales of raging wildfires, the warm camaraderie and good-natured competition of a small town tavern packed with smokejumpers, the clarity of the night sky, the subtleties of an ancient Chinese board game--all offering profound lessons in the quest for a new warrior spirit.

To each episode Peter brings the soul of a poet contemplating life in the face of death, as well as a professional firefighter’s delicious apprehension of hazardous operations and fascination with the seductive allure of a blazing inferno.

Dip into these pages for a vicarious jolt of adrenaline. Or use Trials by Wildfire as a roadmap in your own search for life meaning.

“Everyone faces a ‘twilight struggle’ sometime, an episode where there are few straight and level paths, no easy solutions, where allies and enemies dress in shades of gray, and double-edged swords are all that can be wielded.” from Trials by Wildfire

Peter Leschak is a helitack crew leader and veteran firefighter with the US Forest Service and the State of Minnesota. When he’s not writing or fighting forest fires somewhere in the world, he teaches wildland firefighting and safety.

Over 200 of Peter’s fascinating and frequently ironic essays have been published in national, regional, and professional periodicals including Harpers, The New York Times, Astronomy, Outdoor Life, Backpacker, Boundary Waters Journal, and National Fire and Rescue. Trials by Wildfire is his eighth book.

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Peter grew up on Minnesota’s Iron Range and, after a sojourn in civilized life, returned to the north woods, where he now lives with his wife Pam in a log cabin they built together.

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“Everyone faces a ‘twilight struggle’ sometime, an episode where there are few straight and level paths, no easy solutions, where allies and enemies dress in shades of gray, and double-edged swords are all that can be wielded.” from Trials by Wildfire

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Contents

Whistle
The Witness Post
The Fire Tower
A Real Fight
Reaching for Rigel
Thirty Pounds
An Evening at the Triangle
Best of Mistakes
Epicedium
Their Eyes, Their Lives
Totem
The Gunflint Circle
The Fire Triangle
Whip