Boundary Waters: The Grace of the Wild

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Milkweed Editions, 1997 - Nature - 202 pages
A profoundly moving hymn to the wild places of our land, reflected in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and Ontario
-- The Boundary Waters is the largest and most heavily used wilderness area east of the Rockies, and attracts over 250,000 visitors each year

A journey of the spirit through four seasons, Paul Gruchow's Boundary Waters is an ecstatic contemplation of nature and one's place in it from a writer of great poise and power. The Boundary Waters -- straddling the border between northern Minnesota and Ontario -- is a vast network of forest and thousands of lakes, isolated and pristine. It is to this landscape that Gruchow turns in an attempt to better define himself and his place in nature.

Boundary Waters begins with "Summer: The Grace of the Wild", in which Gruchow describes (according to the canonical hours) a single day in the woods, marrying the practical matters of the trail and the canoe paddle to the spiritual quest that drives us to the solitude of nature. "Fall: Walking the Border" is an account of hiking the famous Gunflint Trail that not only describes the lush scenery but contemplates the richness of America's natural heritage and one's need to share its treasures with others.

In "Winter: By the Light of the Winter Moon", Gruchow returns to the north woods, this time in the silent depths of a Minnesota winter, with a group of students to contemplate the vivid meaning of Thoreau's Walden. Boundary Waters concludes with a journey to one of America's most isolated, yet stunning, national parks, Isle Royale in Lake Superior, where wolf packs roam through the night and Gruchow confronts directly the complex issues of conservation versus development.

As he did inGrass Roots: The Universe of Home, Paul Gruchow again demonstrates that he can explore the relationship of person to place magnificently, illuminating not only lands, but souls as well.

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BOUNDARY WATERS: The Grace of the Wild

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Meandering essays, some in journal form, on the author's experiences hiking, canoeing, and camping—alone and with friends and students—in the five-million-acre Minnesota-Ontario border ecosystem ... Read full review



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About the author (1997)

Paul Gruchow, once described as our contemporary Thoreau, wrote on subjects ranging from the culture of the tall grass prairie to what we teach (and fail to teach) rural children. His work is widely acclaimed for its lyrical prose and eloquence. A respected and inspiring educator, Paul Gruchow's writer in residence involvements included St. Olaf and Concordia Colleges, The University of Minnesota, The Lake Superior Studies Program, as well as lectures and workshops in public schools, churches, bookstores, government and environmental organizations. He won both the Minnesota Book and Lifetime Achievement Awards and in the 1980's edited "The Worthington Globe," an award-winning newspaper. Paul Gruchow took his own life in Duluth, Minnesota, on February 22, 2004, at the age of 56.

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