Thursday, April 15, 2010

On Passion


 When I was eighteen, I started working in Quetico Provincial Park as a canoe ranger. I was introduced to a whole new world of magical sunsets, loon calls, blackflies and the power of sunshine sparkling off the ripples on a lake. I worked in the interior on the canoe routes. Ten-day canoe trips clearing portages for five months. It snowed on the tent every month except July. But I was in love.
Paddling with my Elkhound, Tundra
I went back the next year, and the next, each year loving it a little more. Even though I spent the winters outside running my dogsledding business, every spring when I dipped my paddle once again, I felt as though my parched soul soaked it up.
putting in cordoroy
One of the more interesting portages in the Park
enjoying a sunset

I ended up working in the park until I was thirty. Twelve years paddling the interior. Roughly 860 nights spent in the tent. I've been to every lake in the Park. I grew up there. It shaped who I am today.

I now work on a bigger lake (Huron) and graduated to a bigger boat, but I still yearn for the Park each spring.
My first two books have been about dogsledding. Which, of course, is another of my passions. But, I think my next project will be about a canoe ranger.

What are your passions? Are you writing about them?

26 comments:

Marcia said...

It's so important to tap into passion! You've got a great one for a writer: outdoor adventure. My true passion is books and libraries. Not quite so obvious how to get a plot out of that. :)

Girl with One Eye said...

"my parched soul soaked it up" Wow, you are a writer. I think that adventure book might be your best ever. If it has any of the passion you expressed in this post today, you will be huge success.

Okay, I'm supposed to be on a blog break so don't tell anyone you saw me here.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

I think my passion has always been reading, books, and words. So I guess that is good. People! I love to study people and the quirky things they do.

Your passion is so much more picturesque. And I'm drawn to the excitement.

Janet said...

I think my passion is where I live, too.I write about living in Appalachia. Both of my longer manuscripts took place in Appalachia in the past.

Jen said...

Wow this is amazing I love all the photos and what a job!!! I wouldn't be able to do it but how neat!

My passion is writing and creating new worlds so yes I would say I am fulfilling them!!!

Catherine A. Winn said...

I'm living vicariously through your adventures. More, more, more!
Beautiful pictures--did you ever keep a journal during these years?
Love the idea as the career in your next book. You are such a role model for girls and boys everywhere. We taught career education among the courses in lower grades, I sure wish I knew you then.

Jamie D. said...

Your passion for the outdoors is obvious - lovely photos you have, as always.

I have several things I'm "passionate" about, and they do have a habit of sneaking into my writing. I love good food & cooking...and my current novel has plenty of that included. :-)

E. Arroyo said...

Living in the city all my life, I do enjoy your blog. And the passion that flows through. Thanks for the post!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

My passions are kids and books - so I guess I'm on the right track. :-)

Elana Johnson said...

Wow, those pictures are beautiful. As are you. Whta a great way to discuss passion.

I think the things we're passionate about become part of us. So no matter what we're doing, writing, whatever, it'll come out.

beth said...

Oh--WOW. Love those pics. Especially the sunset one!

Sun Singer said...

I stumbled into a summer job at Glacier National Park while in college. I didn't go back every summer until I was 30, though it would have been easy to do.

Sometimes, a place just snags one's soul like a dream catcher and there's nothing we can do about it--even if we wanted to.

I hope you get a chance to take a canoe back to your first love.

Malcolm

Ann Marie Wraight said...

To date - I've lived in 4 different countries as one of my passions is travel. I am fascinated about other cultures, traditions and world views. My stories are always based on kids and places I have known and visited personally.

That's why my characters are REALLY also my friends...

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Oh. My. Those are stunning photographs, and how extraordinary your life has been so far. I have no doubt you're going to keep those passions burning.
I'm so glad you stopped by my blog so that I came on over here. I've really enjoyed reading your posts, and I loved the opening of Ice Dogs.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Your pictures are gorgeous. It would be so cool to be able to see that daily. I love fantasy for kids so that's what I write.

Susan Fields said...

Gorgeous pictures, and hooray for you for living your passions...dogsledding, canoe rangering (is that a word?), and writing! I feel really lucky to get to live my passion - writing - too.

Natalie said...

That looks so idyllic. I'd love to read a book about a canoe ranger--it's so unique.

I don't think I really write about my passions. I think the stories are my passion if that makes sense. I don't have any other hobbies that I feel as strongly about as writing. But I guess I do put a lot of music into my books, so maybe that counts?

Rena said...

Beautiful pictures! I would love to read a book about your ranger experiences. NPs are one of my biggest loves.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Looks absolutely amazing.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

What an incredible opportunity!

paulgreci said...

What a beautiful and inspiring post! A book about a Canoe Ranger, I'd read that!

So far my stories have been inspired from my passions of wilderness, kids rights, and family relationships.

I'm muddling thru the beginning stage of a new story which hasn't clicked yet. But today, thanks to you, I'm gonna impose that passion question onto my story idea and see what comes up. Thanks!

Tara McClendon said...

Wow. If I could handle the cold that would be awesome. My passion is writing. So in a sense I enjoy my passion every day, but I don't actually write about it. I would love to read a book about a teenage canoe ranger. I think it would inspire young adults everywhere to experience nature.

Mary Campbell said...

Love the pictures, that park is beautiful. I like the passion you have for life. A book about a canoe ranger sounds intriguing. Hope you write it.

Medeia Sharif said...

Your posts are so enjoyable. I have an award waiting for you on my blog.

Lisa and Laura said...

What an experience! Your life sounds incredible...I can't wait to read all about it in your books!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wonderful post, Terry! Did you see any of my posts about Stephen Swinburne? He writes children's books. He was a park ranger before he started writing.