Last summer I hiked up to a fire lookout in Alberta to visit a friend who lives there for part of each year, and tucked in my sturdy pack was Roo Borson’s Short Journey Upriver Toward Oishida (McClelland & Stewart), which I was taking to my friend as a talisman from the place beyond her secluded wood. I had gone some distance along the very gruelling trek, which crosses and follows the North Saskatchewan River through Alberta’s Siffleur Wilderness, before it occurred to me that I was taking a book called Short Journey Upriver Toward Oishida on a short journey upriver toward Cline Lookout. When I arrived at the lookout, my friend presented me with a plate of ginger cookies and a cold beer, and I presented her with a bag of salt-and-pepper potato chips and Roo Borson’s book. I had spent the better part of the previous two weeks with this book, and its unlikely weaving together of poetry and prose made me feel instantly at home in its pages. This is writing that does not insist. It is a simple opening to a world of wisteria and persimmons and dragonflies and railway bridges, and I wanted to belong to that world, and it let me. As it turned out, my friend already had this book in her lookout collection, and so the following day I took it on a short journey downriver toward the Siffleur Falls parking lot, where together we returned to life in the place beyond.