I wake up at the crack of dawn. Barry and I tend to be the first to rise. As he approaches, he tells me Rachel, one of our main guides, is not feeling well. I head to her tent to show her some sisterly love.
In favour of movement, I suggest we walk to a quickly moving creek roaring just inside the trees. It is here, after moments of silence, we share an observation revealed to us from the water:
For this, I am reminded of the importance of lightness. While we so often experience moments of heaviness, in a state of detachment, that is simply heavy moments remain:
As one moves to another, we all share a chant of “aum” on shore before getting into the canoes for day two on the river. I am partnered with Jon.
At first, this news brings the sunshine to my morning. Jon and I get along quite well. But it is in our shared comfort, I watch the day become dark and the mood turn heavy. All he wants to do is fish…
From the back of the canoe!
Now, I am no canoeing expert. This is my first real multi-day paddling trek after-all. But one thing is for certain and that is that the person in the back steers the boat. The person in the front acts as the motor…
I am currently doing both. As a novice. From the front.
By the end of the day, I watch how my arms are exhausted. My patience to be told how to steer a rather clunky boat from a back seat fisherman is damn well next to depleted. Not to mention, the canoe we are in just so happens to be the heaviest of them all. Jon’s annoyed he hasn’t caught a fish. He’s entertaining none of my extremely far out there, somewhat nonsensical questions like…
“What are the top five words you would use to describe yourself?”
He gives up after four…
What I get is “Reserved, mysterious, practical, adventurous....” In the thick of it all, what I want to say was totally pompous, ignorant, selfish, and… AND… AND…
…Just as I am about to snap…
Jon’s rod breaks in half.
He is miserable.
(Okay, this is probably a good time to mention this is the same day I forgot my water bottle on shore after a lunch break and had to run, in the water, all the way back for it, leaving everyone floating mid river. Watching and waiting. As I am yelling, “NEVER A DRY MOMENT WITH JESS CAMPBELL AROUND! I PROMISE I WILL DO DISHES LATER… I probably didn’t… OH! And, we also saw a Grizzly Bear this day, too. Side note. Or hairy note. Or WILD note. Who cares. It was a Grizzly Bear. And it was eating a fish!)
Not long after I experience my moment of release, moving from the tension to the ease yet again, we come around the corner to a campsite so beautiful I can’t even try to describe it adequately. To sum it up in an anecdote; it is at this campsite that Barry finds an entire mailbox full of beer. Hence why we nicknamed it:
Meanwhile, what I receive is a life-message from Kaoli. She shares with the group her first impressions of what canoeing is supposed to be all about.
“It’s like a meditation,” she says, “I am thinking, but not thinking.”
“I’m just paddling.”
It’s a story of a story of a story…
Here’s to the high and lows and the space in-between. It always comes back to love.