- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Lyons Press (May 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0762779225
- ISBN-13: 978-0762779222
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,626 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Two Winters in a Tipi: My Search For The Soul Of The Forest Paperback – May 1, 2012
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From the Back Cover
About the Author
Mark Warren graduated Phi Beta Kappa in chemistry from the University of Georgia and pursued a career in music while working as a naturalist and educator for the Georgia Conservancy. The National Wildlife Federation named him Georgia’s Conservation Educator of the Year. His articles on nature and survival skills have appeared in the North Georgia Journal, Georgia Backroads, and Blue Ridge Highlander. A U.S. national champion in whitewater canoeing and a winner of the World Championship Longbow Tournament, Warren founded and runs the Medicine Bow Wilderness School in the North Georgia mountains, where he lives.
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Top Customer Reviews
Initially the book appears to be about his struggle to rebuild a life after "losing everything" in a fire but by the end it's clear that bolt of lightening illuminated a path to a more fundamental freedom.
Having spent one of the most challenging weekends of my life in one of Mark's firemaking classes and joined him in some archery practice I can attest that he is the real deal. He's simply a walking encyclopedia of skills and lessons that, once probably common, are now so rare to find in one person. I'm very much looking forward to seeing more titles from him.
After completing his undergraduate work, Warren was accepted into medical school. He called the school and said he wouldn't be showing up because he had changed his mind. However he still had some scientific training which he took to the woods with him and that is one of the things that made the story fun for me. Warren told the usual tale of becoming one with the world and running with the deer, but then gave some of scientific explanation for it, which I always think is fun. For example when he talked about trees communicating with each other he talked about some research in that area. He said that it had been found that when a tree was ill or was experiencing an infestation of insects for examples, the trees surrounding it responded by going into a self-defense mode. Can't remember the details and have NO biology knowledge, but the trees pulled something in their leaves back into itself, the harder part of itself, making the tree less vulnerable. So Warren gives some explanation for what used to be considered old wives tales or new age gobbledygook and I always love it when I come across that kind of info.
When Warren's rental home in the woods burnt down, he decided to try living in a tipi and did so for two years. There is a lot of detail about building tipis and how they function that I found a little tiresome, and yet I had wondered about some of those things. Smoke, for example, problems with rain and other things were explained and was interesting.
There is also information about the Cherokee and their relationship with the world and with the government. I spent yesterday afternoon in the Anasazi Center in Cortez, CO and just left feeling so sad. It is a wonderful BLM museum, but I was just so struck by one particular photo that was described as being taken during the American Occupation. Something about that terminology and the reality of it struck deeper. The only place that made me more sad than that was Little Big Horn.
You can see there is a lot of variety in this book and it is a quick and interesting read.
Warren begins the book with a catastrophic event: lightning strikes his house and set it afire. The tin roof acts like the lid of an oven, explains Warren. Everything is not only burnt--but actually melted, even the metal tools. But worse, his novel, his notebooks of compositions. All lost.
Warren had been on a quest to buy land for his dream to set up a wilderness school. He takes this catastrophe and uses it as a springboard to find land to buy and along the way, decides to live in a tipi. The tipi cover he buys (mail ordering it from Colorado after another maker of tipis arrogantly tells him he won't buy one, doesn't want one, or won't sell it to him. An amusing scene.) The pole for the tipi, Warren cuts, scrapes and shapes those himself, musing that women are likely to make the cover as it requires sewing skills, and they would buy their poles. However, the description of how native American women softened, tanned, and shaped buffalo skins, and could erect a tipi in a half an hour is an amazing chapter. If you try to imagine yourself scraping skins with a sharp rock, then pounding buffalo brains into buffalo skin, and chewing the tough spots to make them supple, you come away with a feeling of awe. But even the cutting of the right sort of pine sapling and then using a vintage drawknife to remove the bark is nothing short of monumental in this age.
The chapters where Warren creates and sets up his tipi home remind me of Thoreau. But this book is a lot more-it's a personal exploration, a discussion of the nature in the Piedmont woods of the Southeastern US, and insight into a very unusual man. I couldn't put this book down and I think it's one of the most unusual memoirs I've ever read. I came away totally amazed and strongly tempted to take a course in fire-making and bowcraft...not because I want to live in the woods but out of sheer admiration for what people have accomplished who've gone before us. I think this book would appeal not only to adults, but to children and teens, especially those who enjoy camping and scouting.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in life in a primitive dwelling, anyone who is interested in nature or anyone who seeks a simpler life closer to the earth.
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