Saturday, February 16, 2008

Rowing to Latitude

Have just finished reading Jill Fredston’s book, Rowing to Latitude: Journeys Along the Arctic’s Edge; and then dived straight into her later book, Snowstruck: In the Grip of Avalanches. Both are excellent reads, particularly the former for us water babies.

If you’re just into the multi-miled journeys that she and partner Doug Fesler row and paddle through, you’ll be gripped. And there’s also some poignant takes on life and life’s journeys tucked away here and there.

She has some excellent reflections on risk, but that’s a topic covered many times in like-blogs. What I particularly found of scaring interest is her take on the perception of what’s “truly wild.” Here they are, paddling in Norway: “Rowing the coast was like walking into a kitchen hungry and reaching for a perfect red apple, anticipating sweetness, only to find that the apple is made of wood. The experience frightened us to the marrow. It made us realize that… centuries of human habitation have nibbled away not only at the earth but our perception of what constitutes nature. When we do not miss what is absent because we have never known it to be there, we will have lost our baseline for recognizing what is truly wild. [my italics] In its domestication, nature will have become just another human fabrication.”

1 comment:

Steve said...

You might also want to take a look at On the Water: Discovering American in a Row Boat by Nathanial Stone. Not quite as adventurous as Rowing to Latitude, but a great read. I prefer sailing myself, but find any journey on the water interesting.