Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I really am indebted to my tillicum across the pond, Joff, for introducing me to Annie Dillard's The Living, an epic, historically based work of fiction following the lives of a group of early settlers on the Pacific Northwest coast during the late 1800's. It is easily the most engaging and well written story I have ever read; I wish I could have read it more slowly, or that the story could have just continued infinitely! Shortly after finishing it, I was perusing the online exhibits of the Whatcom Museum of History and Art (much of the story is set in the town of Whatcom, WA) when I ran across the photography of Darius Kinsey, who photographed logging operations and some other snippets of life in the Pacific Northwest around the time that the story is set. Viewing his photographs added a wonderful new dimension to the experience of reading The Living! Following are some of Mr. Kinsey's photos, courtesy of the Whatcom Museum and the University of Washington's digital photo collection:
Homestead on the Olympic Peninsula, WA, 1906 (UofW)
Cedar stump house, 1901 (UofW)
31 people posed inside of a giant cedar stump, 1902 (WM)
Loggers felling a fir tree, 1906 (UofW)
Two women pose outside of a hollowed cedar stump shack. (WM)
Cutting shingle bolts from a cedar log, 1902 (UofW)
Cedar trunk with a 20 foot diameter. (WM)
I've also greatly enjoyed reading The Lure of the Labrador Wild by Dillon Wallace, and his follow-up to that book entitled The Long Labrador Trail. The first is a true account of two friends who, in 1903, embark on a remarkable journey from New York City up into the wilds of Labrador, hoping to rendevous with the Nascaupee Indians during their annual hunt for migrating caribou herds. The Long Labrador Trail is a continuation, of sorts, of the first story, and is equally engaging... a fine read for a lazy indian summer afternoon. Clicking the highlighted titles should take you directly to the free Project Gutenberg online versions of each book! Following are some photographs of the two gentlemen who embarked on the Labrador expedition, Leonidas Hubbard and Dillon Wallace, and their trusty guide George Elson...
Leonidas Hubbard awaiting departure from the shore in front of the Hudson's Bay Company at North West River, 1903
Dillon Wallace, Leonidas' friend and author of the book, awaiting departure, 1903
Elson and Wallace landing the canoe onshore along the Susan River, 1903
Wallace and Elson relax by a fire after lunch.
Wallace and Elson proudly display the head of a Caribou they killed.
Dillon Wallace portaging supplies with a goose hung at each side.
George Elson and Dillon Wallace take a rest and discuss the journey.
All above photos are courtesy of the Labrador Heritage Society via the Virtual Museum of Canada (Click on the latter for more photos and info about the Hubbard expedition but... read the book first!)
And one final note... food and wine pairings are a familiar idea, but might I suggest this... book and incense pairings! The perfect olfactory experience may be paired with any of the three aforementioned volumes by acquiring a "Seven Scent Incense Sampler" from Incienso de Santa Fe. For a mere $7.75, this set supplies seven different all natural wood based incense logs-- Juniper, Pinon, Cedar, Alder, Mesquite, Fir Balsam, and Hickory. Any of these may be ignited throughout the stories to complete the impression of.... sitting by a campfire eating cooked lake trout after a hard day of canoeing, working hard to fell a giant cedar in a clearing amid smoking stumps and piles of wood debris, spending an afternoon in a Native American longhouse upriver mourning the loss of a great chief...
The Seven Scent Sampler comes with a simple burning platform, but I am quite fond of my Pacific Northwest Ceremonial Longhouse, pictured above; it is only $7.00 and is supplied with a good quantity of Pinon logs to get you started!