Excerpt From Fawn Island

Today’s Wood’s Lore speaks to being who you are and belonging to where you are. It’s about an aged little Jack Pine on a rocky point in Rainy Lake. Excerpt from my book, Fawn Island…

There is one plant on the point that holds forth as boldly as a crest upon a shield, and that is the gnarled, drooping tree that, more than anything save the rock itself, gives the point its character. Jack pines won’t win many beauty contests and were in fact long avoided by suspicious lumberjacks as bad luck. But to me, this valiant old tree, solitary on its own rocky point, is as beautiful as a living thing can be. It symbolizes in its hunched and tortured silhouette all the fortitude and bravery to which anyone could aspire. In the calligraphy of its shape against the sky is written strength of character and perseverance, the survival of wind, drought, cold, heat, disease; all made more challenging by the harsh restrictions and meager resources of its rocky hold upon the earth. Yet here it is rooted, here it stands. In its silence, it speaks of a rugged humility, wholeness and harmony, integrity that comes from being what you are and belonging where you are. For all these reasons and for others I cannot name, the little pine on its bare spit of rock epitomizes the wild spirit of the North to me, and the entire enterprise of life in a challenging universe.

(Douglas Wood, Fawn Island, University of Minnesota Press.)

Leave a Reply