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Winter Sign

1998
Author:

Jim dale Huot-Vickery

Winter Sign

A journey into the soul of the coldest season.

The locus of Jim dale Huot-Vickery’s life is a remote cabin in the northern wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters region. More often than not, it is winter here, a fierce, beautiful season that dominates all living things with its relentless cold grip. This is the inspiration for Winter Sign, the profound story of fifteen years of surviving the seven-month-long odyssey of winter in the far north.

One of northeastern Minnesota’s growing cadre of contemplative nature writers, this author has now assembled an array of books reflecting not only his love for nature, but his assimilation of its lessons and vicissitudes. Contrasting the beauty of winter’s stark light on snow and evergreens with the eternally darker wilderness where predators meet prey, Huot-Vickery leads one to acceptance of a nature in which beauty and violence are inevitably mixed.

Lake Superior Magazine

The locus of Jim dale Huot-Vickery’s life is a remote cabin in the northern wilderness of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters region. More often than not, it is winter here, a fierce, beautiful season that dominates all living things with its relentless cold grip. This is the inspiration for Winter Sign, the profound story of fifteen years of surviving the seven-month-long odyssey of winter in the far north.

“We know parkas, mukluks, mittens, snowshoes, skis, and sled dogs,” Huot-Vickery writes. “Snow sparkles gold on cloudless winter mornings. There are shell-pink sunsets. Stars glimmer among northern lights. . . . For those of us who know this land, however, beauty is only part of the winter story. There are those long nights, those we rarely speak about, that surely and irrevocably shift the soul.”

Against this backdrop, Huot-Vickery writes authoritatively on the ecology of the area and philosophically about winter’s probing of the human spirit. He explores the world of nature and the constant struggle for survival, including his own interactions with white-tailed deer and wolves.

Huot-Vickery circles around paradoxes and themes that invade the land and his life: nature’s beauty and bounty pitted against danger and death; the challenge of self-reliance and the depths of isolation; loss and restoration. And always there is the unrelenting winter, filled with wonder and terror. At turns poignant and harrowing, Winter Sign explores the solitude of the dark night of the soul, and the sustenance and inspiration winter’s wild beauty provides.

ISBN 0-8166-2969-2 Paper $15.95
192 pages 5 x 8 November
Translation inquiries: University of Minnesota Press


Winter Sign

Jim dale Huot-Vickery is a writer living near Ely, Minnesota. He is the author of Wilderness Visionaries (1986) and Open Spaces (1991).

Winter Sign

One of northeastern Minnesota’s growing cadre of contemplative nature writers, this author has now assembled an array of books reflecting not only his love for nature, but his assimilation of its lessons and vicissitudes. Contrasting the beauty of winter’s stark light on snow and evergreens with the eternally darker wilderness where predators meet prey, Huot-Vickery leads one to acceptance of a nature in which beauty and violence are inevitably mixed.

Lake Superior Magazine

Winter Sign is a book that stays in your mind long after you’ve read the last page.

Ely Winter Times

Eminently readable, Vickery’s words in this book flow with the smoothness and aptness of poetry balanced with common sense.

Ely Echo

The true winter-worshipper will find solace in Huot-Vickery’s book.

Cook County News-Herald

This is a lovely little meditation. Anyone looking for a contemporary book to pair with Walden, need look no further.

American Studies International

Winter Sign

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: A Path with Heart

CONTACT

A Necessary Violence
Hocoka
Solo
Snow Wonder
Singing Snowshoes
The Challenge

BLOOD ON THE TRACKS

An Ancient Tension
Rip
Omens
The Dark Night
The Haunting Moon
Life Ascending
Closing the Circle

Tracks/Notes
Bibliography