summer of becoming – two women, one canoe – 3

Day 3, rainy day on Timberwolf

We retired early again last night (in our tents by 9), the rains that had threatened all evening finally arriving sometime during the early morning hours. I had awakened already several times by then, zipping open and closed the tent doors to allow air to pass through, alternately throwing the fly back and then redrawing it over the top of the tent. Each time I stirred to adjust, I’d checked the sky for stars, hoping that the clouds might have cleared enough to reveal the promised star show, but it soon became evident that the heavy skies of the evening intended to persist. Finally, sometime around 4 am the skies let loose in earnest. From then on, ironically, I slept much more soundly. Letting go has that effect, I suppose.

We rose at last at 7 for a pre-breakfast paddle, softly into the bog and back, in hopes of encountering some fellow early morning risers, though we met only a heron and a black duck. At the farthest point from camp, as we floated, turning slowing, watching and waiting, to our wondering ears suddenly came from the distance what sounded like rush hour traffic. At first, I thought perhaps it was the wind, though there was no evidence in the trees along the shoreline or the grasses nearer by that it had risen. At the last minute, we realized it was the sound of approaching rain, heavy rain, drumming the surface of the water and the leaves in the trees, making its hasty way toward us. Let’s just say we were ‘damp’ by the time we returned to camp for coffee and pancakes, huddled beneath the tarp.

I had hoped to explore this lake more thoroughly and perhaps even make a day trip to McIntosh Lake this afternoon, but the sky is still quite heavy and each time it seems to be clearing a bit, a new wave of stormclouds passes over and gushes upon us. The wind has completely shifted direction, and is now blowing from the Northwest (it had been steady from the southeast since we arrived)

I wandered a bit on a exploratory walk before lunch, over to that rocky jutting point that seemed so enticing to me yesterday. The way was overgrown but there was still some evidence of a trail, probably part of the old ‘tote’ road that is mentioned on the map as having collapsed to partially obstruct the passageway through which we paddled this morning (said collapse making of it a wonderland, I might add). There was definite evidence of human occupation along the trail- rusted barrels and glass dumps- though the bush has grown in thickly, taking the land back to itself. Multiple piles of moose droppings, some fresher than others, promise that they have also made this place home again.

My friend and I are now taking an early lunch beneath the tarp as it is raining again.  (We were both hungry!! )  Pitching this new tarp went relatively easily for me, save the tossing of the rope over a high branch, which I’m certain was quite comical to watch. I think I learned that a sidearm toss may be a better approach for heaving for me.

There remains for me a peace here, even in the storminess of the weather. I realized last evening that it comes from the simplicity of merely being here and present, so that I am not overwhelmed by the seemingly complicated messiness of my life back home. Choices and decisions here are simply given, as there is one barrelful of food from which to draw, one satchel of clothing, one river or lake before us upon which to travel, a solitary book to read, a single friend with whom to make conversation. Here, there is little to distract me or to draw me away from the moment or the deep immediacy of presence. Beside me now doll’s eyes guilelessly gaze from atop the stems of these 5 leafed plants and bunchberries emerge humbly as fruit from within the seven leafed palm.


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