Day 9- reflections

Today began in rain again, a drizzly rain that kept us in camp for the morning. The menu called for white chocolate and craisin pancakes again, which took quite a long while to cook, as before, except they were cooked over the noisy jet stove instead of the slow warmth of a fire, and therefore much of the lingering conversation was missed by the cook. Still, I enjoyed the view of the water and the vision of my friends enjoying one another’s company.

Much of the remainder of the morning was spent gathering and cutting firewood for the campfire we hope to enjoy this evening. I particularly appreciated the fairyland quality of the firewood gathering path I explored through mossy rocks and trickling pools

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We sat on our narrow ledge, near the edge of the water under a sheltering tree through lunch. Though we had originally begun to move toward a late morning paddle, a sudden wave of fatigue (mine) idled us for a time. Lunch rejuvenated, and so a refreshing afternoon paddle under clearing skies ensued, exploring inlets and shorelines and locating tomorrow’s portage entrance. Our friends turned back after that, and my husband and I enjoyed some more intimate paddling, during which we both chased and raced the advancing clouds, me hoping to capture a full color image of this spectrum of beauty. The colors here are so phenomenally deep and wide all of a sudden, though I cannot seem to convince them to distill into the camera lens. It seems I am still chasing something elusive, my husband obligingly, considerately, (but not untiringly) providing the manpower

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We are still working things out in our power struggle of relationship dynamics, but the communication seems to have opened considerably, respectfully, honorably.

I am keenly aware that I require something ‘of my own’, Virginia Woolf’s ‘room of my own’ so-to-speak, someplace in my life where I have some autonomy and self-direction. I still wonder that we have chosen paddling, a tandem activity. This journey through life is indeed impacted by the choice to share it with another.

Where do I have solitude in my life? I know that I must make space for it, for my soul’s sake. Even here on this trip, where I do have ‘away-ness’, I do not have spaciousness, nor stillness.  These kinds of pilgrimages – in community and with partners-  just do not have space for it really, perhaps moments here and there, mostly pre and post dawn, but no long stretches, no depths. Just temporary landings barely long enough to set up a tent, in which to but briefly enter, when I am in dire need of a long period of time to enter into the tent of my being, to paddle awhile in my depths, to gaze through the glassy surface of my life into its heavens below.

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The evening has grown very still, the water glassy, reflecting trees and clouds. We had a lovely sit by the water together, the reading I shared spoke of pilgrimage, of the marriage of physical vigor with spiritual awareness. I expect this is what these journeys are to me in some respect.

“One of the things we remember on pilgrimage is that reclaiming the relationship between solitude and relationship, between stillness and action, is part of our desire to come back into relationship with the wisdom of nature’s own cycles… of night followed by day, winter barrenness succeeded by spring energy and summer fruiting, long periods of infolding and dormancy followed by seasons of unfolding and the expression of seed-force….(Persons) retreat in turn for periods of solitude as a balance to their life together in community and relationship’ – John Philip Newell

Yesterday we passed two solo paddlers leaving Daisy Lake as we were entering it, moving into the Petawawa. Both were males, both going off for a week or more, alone, into the wild.

Could I do this alone?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Diana Malcom
    Oct 13, 2014 @ 17:15:46

    yes. yes, you could. do it yourself. considering it myself each time we’re up there. it would open up some amazing things in each of us – both scary and exciting. Intimately our own.



    • emmaatlast
      Oct 13, 2014 @ 18:00:37

      yes, Diana, I think that it would open a truly amazing place in each of us. a rite of passage/birthing into some sort of authorship/ownership of our own lives, and, though it sounds trite, a ‘finding ourselves’, though I know you don’t hear it as trite so it is safe to say to you.



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