Listening Point by Sigurd Olson

View from this book:

Many of my favorite quotes from The Earth Speaks were taken from Sigurd Olson’s works.  Since I had never heard of Sigurd Olson before, as soon as I finished The Earth Speaks, I naturally went straight to the Teton County Library (newly re-opened and looking more hodge-podge than ever) and checked out this gem of a book: Listening Point.   I took it up to one of the most beautiful places in Grand Teton National Park—so great, in fact, that I need to share this picture with you:

Holly Lake

Holly Lake: a 12-mi. 3000-ft. hike. I sat by the edge of the lake and devoured both it and the book.


The Book:

Listening Point is a beautiful, quietly stunning book that is akin to A Sand County Almanac and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  Olson writes of the north woods of Minnesota, but also of the relationship of man and nature everywhere:

I must leave it as beautiful as I found it.  Nothing must ever happen there that might detract in the slightest from what it now had.  I would enjoy it and discover all that was to be found there  and learn as time went on that here perhaps was all I might ever hope to know.

As I sat there on the rock I realized that, in spite of the closeness of civilization and the changes that hemmed it in, this remnant of the old wilderness would speak to me of silence and solitude, of belonging and wonder and beauty.  Though the point was only a small part of the vastness reaching far to the arctic, from it I could survey the whole.  While it would be mine for only a short time, this glaciated shore with its twisted trees and caribou moss would grow into my life and into the lives of all who shared it with me.

I named this place Listening Point because only when one comes to listen, only when one is aware and still, can things be seen and heard.  Everyone has a listening-point somewhere.  It does not have to be in the north or close to the wilderness, but some place of quiet where the universe can be contemplated with awe.

9 out of 10.

Listening Point cover



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