- Paperback: 171 pages
- Publisher: Raincoast Books; Revised ed. edition (Feb. 18 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1551924633
- ISBN-13: 978-1551924632
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 0.6 x 21.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 358 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,476,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Cabin at Singing River Paperback – Feb 18 2002
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In the 1980s, while milking cows in Salmon Arm, B.C., and pondering what to do next, Chris Czajkowski was offered the chance of a lifetime: to build her own log cabin on the shore of Lonesome Lake. The lake, just to make things interesting, is located in a remote corner of Tweedsmuir Provincial Park's pristine wilderness, and is accessible only by floatplane or canoe. Furthermore, the lake was aptly named: Czajkowski's sole neighbours for miles would be the Turners, the couple making the offer. Not short on derring-do, the British-born, itinerant artist, who had travelled the world, grabbed the opportunity--albeit with some trepidation. Little did she know she was beginning a grand adventure that would test her fortitude, inspire a fresh approach to her painting, and launch a new career for her as a writer. The adversities she faced and the triumphs in which she rejoiced are chronicled in Cabin at Singing River, originally composed as a series of letters to CBC Radio's Morningside. During her tenure at Lonesome Lake, Czajkowski got to see--and hear--what few people ever have the privilege to witness: the spawning of the wild sockeye, the frolicking of wolves, the resounding chorus of hundreds of trumpeter swans, and the eagle's dramatic aerial thieving of food.
Written with wisdom, humour, and self-deprecating honesty, Cabin at Singing River is a real page-turner. Each chapter is a discrete letter that casts light on a unique aspect of her years of backbreaking toil, as she single-handedly felled trees with little more than a chainsaw and axe, cleared the land, milled raw timber into lumber, laid the cabin's foundation, hoisted logs, erected outbuildings--and created a home for herself. Frankly intimate without crossing into the needlessly confessional, Czajkowski proves herself to be a true poet of nature. In lovely, unpretentious prose, she reveals how the wilderness can test one's resolve and ingenuity and open up unimagined vistas, and how, in turn, one can find one's self within that untamed geography. Czajkowski lived the great Canadian pioneering adventure, and thanks to this book, we are all the wiser for it. --Diana Kuprel
"As western society becomes increasingly reliant on technology and marches further from its roots, Czajkowski's books allow us to share a rare, lingering glimpse of frontier life." -- Vancouver Sun
"Czajkowski has nurtured and developed a connection to the earth that most of us can hardly relate to, let alone appreciate ... [She] has followed a different path, reminding us of how much we don't need, and how much we are missing." -- The Globe and Mail
"[A] rich collection of personal insights into the daily construction chores as well as inspirational glimpses into the human spirit." -- Harrowsmith
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book chronicles Chris' experiences in setting up a new life south of Lonesome Lake, along the Atnarko River (the "singing river" in the title refers to the musical sound of the water, not the name of the river itself). It takes a day (sometimes two) to hike to Highway 20, so she's almost entirely on her own when it comes to building her cabin. The Turners help when they can, but when the chainsaw breaks down or new materials are required, a hike out to civilization is often required. The story of the 18-month project of building the cabin is interspersed with tales of life in the wilderness. She tells of the rhythms of the seasons, the wildlife she encounters, and the explorations she undertakes to familiarize herself with the surrounding area. Her descriptions enable the reader to see the gorgeous British Columbia scenery as if they were there themselves.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Many of us have, at some time or another, dreamed of living off the land, away from civilization. This book allows you to do that vicariously through Chris' experience and also makes you realize just how hard it is!