The Canadian Shield forest north of Kenora contains some of the most beautiful wilderness I know. This song is a celebration of its beauty and mystery.
You know you haven’t seen this country,
Until you leave the roads behind,
And try turning back the pages, to another place and time.
Park beside a wild river,
Pull the canoe down off the rack,
Dip the paddle in the water,
And know for certain that you’re back.
And the paddle, in the water, is a long, lost friend.
There are times I’d like to wander down a river without end,
In a hull of flowing cedar, carved by knowing hands,
That sings of rushing water — the spirit of the land.
From Quebec to Athabaska,
Its a land that doesn’t change.
Three thousand miles of forest
That at first seems hard and strange.
And the rivers are the highways,
As they flow from lake to lake,
And as you paddle through the water,
You live for living’s sake.
The rock itself is ancient; it’s been there since life began,
And the man who says he owns it, well there stands a foolish man.
And you may strip away the forest, and damn the waters still,
Dig the metal from its body; it has a spirit you can’t kill.
Tell the weather by the east wind; tell direction by the sun.
And the stars that shine at midnight can be touched by anyone.
And you know its not a playground — it can take a heavy toll,
But there are days of quiet glory, that show a window on your soul.
It’s just spruce and pine and granite — too strong to ever yield;
Our burden and our blessing, our trial and our shield.