The Cremation of Sam McGee

Lake LaBerge, Yukon; Bruce Barrett, 2007
Lake LaBerge, Yukon; Bruce Barrett, 2007

There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold; …

So begins The Cremation of Sam McGee, the famous poem by Robert Service. I’ve heard these lines, and all the others time and again over the years, but I can’t believe it’s taken this long to hear them spoken (incorrectly, I might add) by Johnny Cash. The reading appears on the 2006 album Personal Fire and it can be heard at NPR.

A True Woodsman

Near Rifle, Colorado, David Hiser, 1972
Near Rifle, Colorado, David Hiser, 1972

Wet, heat, cold, hunger, thirst, difficult travel, insects, hard beds, aching muscles—all these at one time or another will be your portion. If you are of the class that cannot have a good time unless everything is right with it, stay out of the woods. One thing at least will always be wrong. When you have gained the faculty of ignoring the disagreeable thing and concentrating your powers on the compensations, then you will have become a true woodsman and to your desires the forest will always be calling.
—Stewart Edward White, The Forest

Mild the Mist Upon the Hill

Totem poles, Skedans, by popejon2
Totem poles, Skedans, by popejon2

Mild the mist upon the hill,
Telling not of storms to-morrow ;
No, the day has wept its fill,
Spent its store of silent sorrow.

Oh, I’m gone back to the days of youth,
I am a child once more,
And ‘neath my father’s sheltering roof
And near the old hall door,

I watch this cloudy evening fall,
After a day of rain;
Blue mists, sweet mists of summer pall
The horizon’s mountain chain.

The damp stands in the long, green grass
As thick as morning’s tears;
And dreamy scents of fragrance pass
That breathe of other years.
—Emily Brontë