This, the title track of the CD, is about Bill Mason of course. I devoured his books and films and what I could glean of his thoughts. I read the same authors. I borrowed many of his techniques. I know he influenced many other canoeists as well. His enthusiasm came out very strongly in everything that he did, infecting us all.
I also relished the decidedly retro view he had of camping equipment: his Baker tent, his wood-canvas canoes, his axe and saw and cooking with wood. I used his sewing plan from “Song of the Paddle” and had a campfire tent just like it made up. (It’s a wonderful home in the woods.) His preferences mirrored my own, and I felt a kinship with him.
“For those that he touched, with palette or lens, are partners in all but the name,” (a line from the song), sums it up, I suppose. A tribute.
Well I knew a man who danced in the spring,
A wilderness waltz, a paddler’s fling,
And he roamed all alone from break-up ‘til fall,
Heeding a wilderness call.
Learning the notes of the Song of the Land,
Was a lifetime’s adventure reward.
Where the wilder the route, the better the plan,
For a method of living adored.
From a back-country lake in the stillness of dawn,
To Superior’s shore with a storm coming on,
From where in the length and the breadth of the north,
Our wilderness waters have roared.
And no one can say that he passed without friends,
Or lived but a moment of fame,
For those that he touched with palette or lens,
Are partners in all but the name.
And partners we are when out on the land,
Or first see the work that flowed from his hand.
He painted for you, an old red canoe,
Hauled up for the night on the sand
[chorus, and end]