A Private Wilderness: The Journals of Sigurd F. Olson
edited by David Backes
Written mostly during the years from 1930 to 1941, Sigurd F. Olson’s journals describe the dreams and frustrations of an aspiring writer honing his skills, pursuing recognition, and facing doubt. Author of Olson’s definitive biography, editor David Backes brings a deep knowledge of the writer to these journals, providing critical context, commentary, and insights along the way.
Excerpt from January 20, 1930
Yesterday while on my skis, pausing on the high ridge north of Grassy Lake and overlooking twenty miles of wilderness valley to the great range to the southward, for a moment I had the sensation of harmony with the infinite...For perhaps a full minute I stood on my skis steeping myself in the glory of the scene before me... Then like an unpleasant memory I was aware of a hostile influence approaching and I began to retrace the way to the matter of fact. It was nothing but the click, click of a chain striking a fender but it was enough to break the spell. It drew closer and closer until the air was filled with the unpleasant clangor of metal upon metal. I looked up in disgust but the truck was hidden by the trees. It grew fainter and fainter and at last was lost entirely. I stayed for a moment to try and recapture what I had lost but although I did for a brief moment, it was impossible to regain to complete beauty of the first. I pushed on my ski sticks and slid down the trail toward the lake.
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