foto: Alfred Eisenstaedt
|Sigurd Olson at his cabin "Listening Point", ca. 1981 WHi 74072|
Sigurd F. Olson (1899-1982)
Sigurd F. Olson, one of America's most beloved nature writers and most influential conservationists of the 20th century. Best known as the author of The Singing Wilderness and eight other books, Olson also played an important role in the preservation of a number of national parks, seashores, and wilderness areas.
(...) A little log cabin on the eastern shore of Burntside Lake, built by one of Minnesota's most famous writers, is the state's newest addition to the National Register of Historic Places.
"Now it will make no difference how many are in the house, what company we have or how many guests," he wrote in his journal. "Nothing will bother me out here."
|Sigurd Olson's final words left in his typewriter. Photo courtesy Tobias W.H. Tan.|
|Sigurd Olson at Listening Point, ca 1981|
A Sense of Place: Sigurd Olson's Listening Point
Sigurd Olson's second book, Listening Point, is named after the property he owned on Burntside Lake, about ten miles away from his home in Ely. He got the idea for naming the property from his daughter-in-law Yvonne, who toured the property for the first time in the spring of 1958. Her husband, Sigurd's son Robert, was a U.S. Foreign Service officer serving in the Middle East. As Sigurd showed Yvonne the point and described what it meant to him, she noticed a similarity with the way the diplomatic community described Benghazi, Libya. They called it a "listening post," from which they could stay connected with the ebb and flow of life along the entire north coast of Africa. She said the way he described his point made it sound like a listening post for the wilderness. From then on Sigurd called his special place Listening Point. His book by that name, published later that same year, begins with a wonderful description that captures the depth of meaning and connectedness associated with a well-developed sense of place: