day 10 -sunshine

algonquin 2014 183

early am, pre-dawn

My watch is missing, so I have no real time to report, though I sense it is likely 6:30am by the quality of the light and the call of the loon.

I rise with the loon, go to bed with the barred owl.

The morning is quiet, still, as was the evening. The convection fog is just beginning to roll with the slight warmth that the rising sun brings. I cannot see the sun (we are facing west with a body of land and many trees behind us) but I sense it has not yet broken the horizon.

There are things that I know here that I forget at home. These senses of mine measure well, without mechanical or technological gadgets, through my connection to the earth and her rhythms. My body wakes and sleeps according to her cycles, eats when it is hungry, loves what it love, without analysis or rationalization.

I hear water flowing. It is just around the bend. This morning it seems everything is flowing in that direction, the lake, the fog, my life. Here it seems that the flow of water is life itself, the land a mere interruption. We travel from body to body, get back into the flow, come alive again. Everything is turned on its head here and what seems real is quite fluid, what flows feels alive.

Life is so beautiful here. I wish I had not wasted a moment worrying, controlling, judging, angry. There is a lesson. (although even here I must re-member to honor all parts of me– the storm and the calm)

Two duck-like bird fly close enough that I hear their wings beat, like a whistle they vibrate the air. It reaches my ears and I look up from the page to witness their dark silhouette against the lightening sky. Water bugs alight on the surface of the stillness, making the lake appear to be receiving droplets of rain. Occasionally a fish rises… or something else… to create a circular ring that ripples slowly, in widening circles, across the lake.  Two birds, who have not migrated, are quietly whistling, their rising trill coming from somewhere behind my friends’ tent, which was dry last night, at last.

I have just now risen to use the box, something else that has become natural here. the lake has taken on the pinks and lavender hues of the rising sun in my brief time away.

Oh, there is color everywhere.

More winged birds, like six small jets, whiz by. My friends stir awake in their tent. I hear low conversation, zippers pulling, deep yawns, morning sneezes.

Time to put on the coffee.

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Late afternoon, Edgewater Lodge

It has been a beautiful day. I am so in love here.

After breakfast, we shared a brief closing ritual at the water’s edge before entering our boats for the journey out. Last night I had read a quote ascribed to DH Lawrence, which I shared this morning, next to the water, in love with my friends.

 “Oh, what a catastrophe, what a maiming of love when it was made a merely personal feeling. This is what is the matter with us: we are bleeding at the roots because we are cut off from the earth and sun and stars. Love has become a grinning mockery because, poor blossom, we plucked it from its stem on the Tree of Life and expected it to keep on blooming in our civilized vase on the table.” 

Yes, here in this place, in connection and communion with the earth, the fullness of my love is allowed to blossom, a full-bodied physical love where my body moves and stretches and touches and feels and reacts and follows its true allure, instinctively taking me where I long to be; a full-feeling sensual love where my eyes and my ears, my mouth and my nose – as well as senses unnamed and long since forgotten – are filled, informing me of my place here; a fully immersed, deeply connected love that is one with earth and her creatures, with water and sky, fire and wind, storm and stillness, with expanses and depths.  Here, love is more than a construct of thought and emotion, I know that I am alive because of it. May this time here have re-rooted me in that knowing, may I draw deeply from that connection.

Alas, my camera has run through both batteries and I have no concrete images to take with me from the morning’s paddle, other than those imprinted upon my mind. The blues of the water and sky were spectacular, the red and oranges of maples ablaze, the yellows emerging, the reflections so deep it was like gazing downward at heaven. We paddled and portaged through unsurpassed beauty, slowly, lingeringly, absorbing every last drop.

I found myself grieving deeply, once again, to be leaving this place, tempted, tantalized by a glorious weather forecast to dry out our things, resupply our food barrel, return to the water, never go back.

Perhaps next summer I will stay for a month. Perhaps this will become my Appalachian trail.

We encountered several paddlers heading in for the week, learned that several entry point access roads were completely washed out by the unexpected storm. Mostly the good news I received, however, was something unnamed, unspoken, but expressed nonetheless by the women we encountered. The first, an older woman, probably in her 70’s, with her husband, still paddling, planning a long trip into some of the same waters from which we’d just come, crossing the same challenging trails. The second, two single women, each paddling a solo canoe headed into the park for a week. One of the women mentioned that she takes solo trips here. So, it is not unheard of, nor at all out of the question, for me to consider such a trip, alone.

These women made me feel hope that you cannot imagine – kinship, comeradery,  belonging. Between us stretched a secret unspoken bond. I am not alone and I am not too much.

At home, I once listened to an interview with an oceanographer, the first person to walk untethered on the ocean floor. Her story filled me with the same sense of belonging, of allrightness. Her sense of wonder at what she beheld, her sense of curiosity and longing, her sense of ‘not caring what they called her’ (at the time, the 1960’s and 70’s she was alternately called Aquababe, or ‘Mother of 2’) as long as she could go, follow her heart to the places it was called to go.

‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined” – Thoreau

To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation’ – Paulo Coelho

We are at the lodge now. Showers – the first in 10 days – have been taken, lunch has been consumed, tents and tarps are drying out on the lawn. I have discovered a lovely quiet spot, down the steps to the water, where 4 Adirondack chairs have been set out on a small patio, the water lapping the shore a few feet below.

The sun feels deliriously warm.

A chipmunk has crawled onto my lap.

My husband has spoken of wanting to stay too– that if it weren’t for his mother and his feet he would stay on for a few more days, soak in this autumnal beauty. This fills my heart with unexplained hope, unexpected joy, with its own kind of sunshine. We too are bonded in this place. He too is kin.

We belong to each other.

Next year, we shall make such a trip.

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