The Wise Man in The Wilderness

By Al Farthing (

November 11, 2008

I must confess that I find it really hard to talk about the wilderness wonders of our Canada. Words seem so inadequate to express its grandeur, and I find myself resorting too much to words like magnificence, glorious, superb, breathtaking, and suchlike words!

This is certainly the case when trying to speak of the rugged region in Northern Quebec along the Saguenay River.

There are two routes down from Chicoutimi to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and we take the southern route which leads to the ferry terminal at Saint-Siméon.

It leads us past our air base at Bagotville, where my oldest brother and his family lived for a time, and then to some charming towns and villages, very French indeed in nature.

The surrounding hills are worn down mountains, and very steep which makes the area prone to terrible floods from time to time. In many ways it resembles a scaled down version of places that we visited in the Swiss Alps.

We stop for the night at a breathtakingly beautiful little place called L'Anse-Saint-Jean, right on a swiftly flowing river which shows that in high water time it is a flood zone.

After setup I go searching for a friend that I have never met face to face. I find two lovely young French girls in a tiny information kiosk and ask them if they know a man named Jean Hudon. With a delightful French accent one replies:

"Yes... yes! We do. We do know Jean Hudon!" And they proceed to tell me where to find him, back in the hills some six miles away.

Jean has an amazing website named Earth Rainbow Network, and each week sends out a gigantic e-mailing of news and of some of the latest research of scientists, scholars, ecologists, and spiritual writers from all around the globe. Each mailing is a treasure house of current wisdom focused on the well-being of planet Earth and its place in the universe.

He charges no fee for this, and invites contributions to help with the cost.

So I hunt down Jean, and find him at work on his winter woodpile, next to his large and beloved garden. He is also putting a new roof on the house that he built with his own hands.

I already know much about Jean through his writings. A few years back I sent him a carving of one of my bearded forest men, and he sent me two of his books which are fascinating.

Jean in person is as gracious and wise as his writings, and we sit for an hour and dialogue, while looking down at the tops of giant trees in the valley below. For me it is a simple and unforgettable time with a man I deeply respect and admire.

The contrast is amazing. Here is a man with a deeply informed global concern, making known the best information available to thousands of readers weekly. And he does this from a computer in his own beloved home, located in the peaceful wilderness of the Saguenay forest.

What a stunning illustration of this present time in which we live! Via the world-wide-web, we can all take part in a discussion of planetary concerns that has no geographical boundaries. This sharing of information and collective wisdom is unprecedented in all of human history!

The stunning election of Barack Obama as President of the United States is a part of this communication miracle. Like my friend Jean, he has a deep understanding of local and global organization, and the role that the Internet plays in that.

His Mantra that is now blazing around the world, "Yes we can -- yes we can!", is one that strikes deep into the hearts of billions of people who are yearning for a better life, a saner, healthier, more peaceful world.

And Jean from the wilderness of Northern Quebec, others like him, and you and I all have an opportunity to play a small part in this amazing, unfolding story. For we too, are a living part of the world-wide-web.

"Yes we can! Yes we can!"

Al Farthing
New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada

You may view HERE and HERE some of the best pictures Jean took around his house and on the Saguenay river where he loves to go kayaking. And you may also review his bio HERE.