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Anywhere I Lay My Canoe, by David Szczesny

A tale of instinct and doubt, transported through time by an ancient watercraft, Anywhere I Lay My Canoe explores a curious, unexplained, and irresistible gravitation to the water in the face of personal uncertainty.

Combining individual narratives with historic accounts spanning several centuries, David Szczesny recounts formative explorations along the shores of Lake Erie and developmental experiences upon the scenic waterways of northern Minnesota and coastal California. Along a slow, meandering course toward the unpredictability of parenthood and beyond, he navigates the turbulent waters of responsibility, transition, and loss as his young family establishes a fragile connection with the natural world, culminating with their inaugural journey into the rugged, isolated wilderness of Lake Superior.

Evoking the famed voyageurs and indigenous cultures of the fur-trade era, along with several lesser-known adventurers of the 20th century, Szczesny’s meditations and recollections examine the legacy of the canoe, its associated legends, the craft’s historical impact on the North American continent, and its eventual transformation from a means of survival to a recreational pastime. Referencing classic literature and cinema of wilderness exploration, his wistful and heartening chronicle is a modern-day entry in the underappreciated canon of the paddle.

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