Reflecting on wildlife and writing

Little surprises are nice, the joy of the gesture seems greater when the gesture is something that I can really focus on and slowly absorb. I recently had such an experience. I see Dana Klos on occasion at the local radio station. He’s in a few times a month and talks about the outdoors and I enjoy his interviews. He recently brought a handful of old magazines for me to read.

The magazines are called, “Water, Woods and Wildlife (WWW) -the Northwoods Wildlife Journal.” The first thing I noticed was value, 95 cents an issue. The issues I have read so far are from 1977-78 and a yearly subscription was only seven dollars. Magazines today are so full of glossy photo pages that they barely light in a burn barrel. They also have large script and the stories are short, no more than a few minutes of reading at most. The magazines Klos brought me have real stories that require focus and an investment of time. I don’t mind the investment of time because I like the return in knowledge.

I typically enjoy editorial comments in any magazine, they typically take the subject of any magazine and personalize it through their own eyes. The Editor and Publisher of WWW magazine was Dick Lockhart, his office manager was Elain Lockhart Elaine and they were based out of Williams, Minnesota. In one of his editorials he writes of moving to their “home in the country” in January of 1977 and starting off with only cold water after a recent graduation to a permanent home from a tent. He speaks of his gratitude for the peace enjoyed from a lack of television and refers to writing only by “punching keys” on what must have been a manual typewriter.

There are contributors to the magazine too.  I am amazed at the amount of work it must have been to gather these stories, edit them and publish a 50-page magazine without the benefits of email or computers. One of these contributors was Marv Lundin, former editor of the Thief River Falls times who passed away about a year ago.  Although his story is about hunting ruffed grouse, it mentions his black Labrador, Charcoal, several times. There’s even a silhouette of his dog in the background of the page. Lundin talks about hunting with friends in the later part of the season at the end of December. In one paragraph, Lundin write in a good-natured way about a jammed gun and how he only was able to make one shot on eight birds. He shrugs it off and spends much of the story expertly describing the hunter’s actions and their surroundings. I like Lundin’s writing. In one sentence he writes, “like a good novel, which must be right cover to cover to be fully appreciated, the hunting season must be enjoyed from beginning to end to fully savor what it has to offer.” Like much of what I found in this magazine, that’s the kind of writing worth reading.

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