reading James Billington, The Icon and the Axe (cultural history of Russia). He goes on about the importance of the forest in the origins of Russian society.
(Occurred to me that Minnesota landscape is a mini-version of Russia. We have our vast lakes, our little lakes, our "twin cities", our Scandinavian "invasion", our rivers, our flat prairie, our immense swamps, our bears, our wolves, and most of all, our little Siberia, the dense cold pine-birch-tamarack forest.) (Not to mention me, the Russian poet from Minneapolis.)