A white man asked the backwoods Indian, 'Why don't you work at a steady job and save your money so that you can have more leisure time to enjoy life?' The Indian replied, 'I enjoy life all the time and have no steady job.'"" Mr. Rutstrum, now 78, tells us of his long years in a variety of wildernesses--mostly North and Very Far North. He writes with clear and wintry vigor of a world which contrasts sharply with our print-soaked, entertainment-numbed city lives. Along the way he dispels illusions about wilderness life, showing that it can be as mentally stimulating as the world of any physicist or avant-garde artist, probably more so. Nor does one life preclude the other--he has had his day in epicurean restaurants and exotic cities. Married, he writes (this is his tenth ""wilderness"" book), has a library of great diversity, studies photography, astronomy, meteorology, woodcraft, natural history--and meanwhile canoes, picks berries, cooks, listens to the radio, harvests wild rice with Indians and entertains friends ""who drop in by canoe, plane, snowmobile or dogsled."" Never an absolute hermit, his anecdotes about the many diverse people he has met or lived with are bracing and good-humored. ""Feeling the lapel of a suitcoat worn by an Indian friend, I asked facetiously, 'Smoke-tanned buckskin?' 'No,' he said, 'Harris tweed.'