So many of us grew up having Sam Campbell’s books read to us. We all were transported to a quiet world, surrounded by nature and animals who came alive with character. We held our breath as a canoe with precious cargo struggled against a gale force wind, doubled in laughter at the antics of Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo & Still Mo, and joined in the quiet conversations with Inky.
One man, in carrying on the tradition, with probably well worn books went beyond the fascinating stories to put a face on who Sam Campbell was, and to preserve his legacy. Terry Dodge, Jr. in answer to his daughters question is on a mission to keep Sam Campbell and his story alive. Continue reading →
As the sun peaked over the forest canopy a golden pathway began to take shape across the still waters of Four Mile Lake. A Loon called from the morning mist and as the echo quickly faded, other bird songs filled the vacancy of the lone caller.
Standing on the shore of the little deserted island once called “Campbell Island” just over 100 yards from Sam Campbell’s island home, the peace and tranquility of the Northwoods was over whelming. I had longed for this morning for many months and to finally be here, was almost too good to be true. Yes, I had been here before, but this time I would have almost a week of un-interrupted access to the place Sam called home. The Sanctuary of Wegimind was a place he went to find himself from the rat race of city life and to film the animals he so loved so dearly. Continue reading →
While at NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) in mid April, we met with several companies that make top end transfer equipment for film to digital media. One of the companies shared the name of Video Conversion Experts from Chandler, Arizonawith us.
VCE has agreed to give us a good discount on the transfer costs if we can raise the money for the transfer by then end of August. This fall they have some large contracts that will be starting and their machines will be too busy to extend the discount. We need to raise $13,500 to have all of Sam’s 16mm films transferred to the quality of digital media needed for the documentary film.
This afternoon I took a moment to read The Rendezvous in Nature’s Messages of Peace and ran across this thought.
While I am aware of the tremendous value of reasoning in the world, I think that it is often colored with selfishness, greed, and egotism, which render it not true reasoning at all. It seems to me that the more important things are always those which are whispered to us from within, and the constructive function of reasoning is to make these things a part of consciousness through definite acceptance of them.
There are those grand instincts in the consciousness of man which are glorious in their promise, yet which the world would crucify and destroy with its shallow reasoning if it could. Perhaps the greatest sermon preached by solitude in the Green Cathedrals is, “listen to the still small voice within, and fear not to accept the wonders of divine instinct and intuition.”
This morning I had a moment to pause and read the chapter on Rain in Sam’s book Nature’s Messages of Peace. It struck me how often we miss the real beauty that is around us by not taking time to enjoy what the Creator has placed there for us to enjoy. Here’s a quote from the book.
“What amazing wonders we find in small bits of Nature!
We need not confine our seeking to great canyons, towering mountain ranges, ponderous glaciers, and staggering celestial phenomena.
I remember well a day when a steady downpour held us within the cabin. For more than an hour I sat entranced by the spectacle of raindrops on one tiny branch of a Norway Pine. There was something so orderly in the way the drops crept to the end of each pine needle, paused for a moment, and then jumped into space. Unexpectedly the sun broke through, its rays touching the branch I had been watching. It would be hard to conceive anything more beautiful than that simple picture: a single pine branch with rain-drops on it! Yet, no cluster of diamonds was ever more brilliant, and no symbol of any magnitude could better suggest the beauty and orderliness of Nature.”
Sigurd Olson was a contemporary of Sam Campbell. While both men loved nature and were conservationists, Sig went the route of politics while Sam went the way of people’s hearts through books, lectures and films.
Robert Olson, Sig’s youngest son, personally knew Sam. He helped pack some of the things Sam needed for his trips into the boundary waters when Sam stopped by his dad’s shop.
Robert took time for the interview because he believes that Sam’s philosophy and story should be told and not forgotten. Here’s a short snip from the interview where Robert gives the importance of keeping Sam’s story alive.
Tonight I was reading through Sam’s book, “Nature’s Messages of Peace” published in 1937 and ran across this short but very powerful thought.
“Is it not true that in the brightness of day we often see the least, and in the midst of many sounds we hear the least?
How often, in the night, have I drifted in my canoe over the still surface of the lake, and realized that in the light of darkness I was looking upon a thousand suns, each one greater than ours; and in the deep, deep silence listening to glorious spiritual messages, to which the slightest sound would render me dull or deaf.
In my prayers of gratitude I often say, ‘Thank God for Night, Silence, Still Waters, the Moon, and a Canoe!” These have been the sesame that has opened to me marvelous new worlds.”
As the sun broke through the over cast and set the snow to dancing we arrived at Robert Olson’s home, Sig Olson’s youngest son. After introductions we set up for filming his interview. Continue reading →
About six months ago I was given the name of Sig Olson’s youngest son, Robert Olson. He and his older brother made up the composite character Sam affectionately called Sandy “The Squoip”. Continue reading →
"Animals are individuals to me, and I am glad I think of them not only as serving man with flesh and hide, but also as co-partners in the glorious revelation of the infinitude of life."Animals are individuals to
"Sometimes, in the important matters of forgiveness and returning good for evil, our forest brethren are more obedient than we are."Sometimes, in the important
"Why don't we fight the thing that causes the trouble and not one another? Why don't we fight hatred and fear, selfishness, greed, all the things that destroy human happiness. Slightly modified, only removed who was talking and the between comments."
Seven Secrets of Somewhere Lake‚ pg. 95Why don't we fight
"How values change. A week ago these things (gas rations stamps) were more valuable to me then gold notes. Now they aren't even good wastepaper!"
A Tippy Canoe and Canada Too‚ pg. 158How values change
"One of the inexplicable things in nature, at least to our present limited understanding, is the strange faculty of instinct found in both animals and men. In men instinct has been smothered and lost in self-consciousness and, with questionable benefit at times, compromised with reason."One of the inexplicable
"Who has not stood at the glorious moment when it seems that God Himself has called him (or her) by name and directed him (or her) to an important task?"
Too Much Salt and Pepper‚ pg. 218Who has not stood
"A person must stand on holy ground to realize… that in himself are talents and the opportunities through which he must work out his salvation. Not in the world, but in his own character in his work. Success is not measured by comparing himself with his neighbor, but rather in the degree he cultivates and uses his natural ability."
A Tippy Canoe and Canada Too‚ pg. 231A person must stand
"Nothing is fully possessed until gratitude is expressed."
A Tippy Canoe and Canada Too‚ pg 232Nothing is fully possessed
"One need never be lonely in the great outdoors. There is satisfying companionship to be found among forest folk when we are worthy."One need never be
(Duke) "Once in while I have reached the place where peace was close at hand that I knew where to seek it at last. It was when I forget myself, and as someone said, look through nature to nature‚ as God."
Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo and Still-Mo pg. 38Once in a while