Healing waters – part 4

Thursday, July 27, Bonnechere Lake

Morning in the tent.

Outside the flung wide tent flap, I spy small patches of blue, but mostly encroaching and retreating gray, as it also was when I was awakened with a start in the middle of the night. Having felt something scurry across my hand, I was certain it was a mouse, run in through that open tent door, seeking our warmth. He was nowhere to be found, however, when we searched the sleeping bags for him, startled as he also was, no doubt, into a hiding place.

Rising from the tent then, drawn to the majesty of the stars outside that window, yearning for another long drink of them before we depart this place, I walked out to the point. The dipper was just above the horizon by that time, 4:00am, dipping its ladle into the water in the northern notch, I understood completely in that moment why the ancients saw it as a dipper. Some gazer long ago surely beheld this same starry sky spread out over the water. The morning ‘star’, rising bright above the eastern sky was there as well, as was the milky way with its broad stroke of hazy white in the west. How awake and alive I felt in that moment.

Just as quickly as that sky had unfolded for me, as I turned to walk back toward the tent, the clouds rolled in across half of the sky. The stars tucked themselves back beneath the blanket as did I, each of us returning to sleep. I was suddenly quite grateful for that little mouse.

I dreamt again last night. Two nights ago, I awoke screaming, “DADDY!” as a menacing man had come into my room intending to harm me .  Last night, it was feelings of unworthiness and shame that made their appearances in my dream. Neighbors from my home town, putting me in my place, ‘subtly’ reminding me that they were more important than me. I was, after all, nothing. Then Don on the phone being badgered to confess that ‘Vicki doesn’t Love me anymore’ Whew, the way these camping trips bring up the wilderness in me!

I gaze at this man asleep beside me and I know I will love him until the day I die. My definition of Love over these past years (and even months) has so deepened and expanded. I realized the other day, when sharing with Don how I long for my daughter to find someone who loves all of who she is – who sees her fears as lovable for instance – that he deserves the same. Someone who simply loves the whole of him, who gazes upon him with tenderness. I am that one.I read a few weeks ago that contempt is the biggest predictor of divorce. I must guard to not allow contempt to find its way into my heart. I think perhaps it is time to wash Don’s feet.

Now i must rise from the tent to begin preparing breakfast. The winds continue to whisper, then roar, in the pines. The wood frogs with their strange clacking are slowing, and a few twittering birds are busy in the blueberries. The world is awake. Now, so am I.

Thursday Afternoon, Ragged Lake

We left camp this morning at 10:00, arrived here at the north end of Ragged Lake by 1:30. This campsite is not very nice at all, exposed in a way that is not pretty, with downed trees and scrubby vegetation, but it will serve its utilitarian purpose, allowing us to get an early start on the waters of Smoke Lake in the morning. We need just a spot for our small tent and I can really cook just about anywhere with the isobutane stove if the fire pit proves to be too oppressive in the sun or the wind. Don is currently under the tarp, ‘exposing’ himself, as he is quite chaffed from our travels!

We are both fairly tired again. The paddling was hard against the wind today. Perhaps this evening we might go out again, on more placid waters should that occur. For now, we will rest.

The day broke with gray cloud cover, though those thin patches of blue have now evolved into a brilliant blue sky with white puffy snowballs of clouds, very similar to the way the storm system eventually broke up earlier this week while camping on Phipps Lake. I expect stars again tonight 🙂

Now, I am popping chocolate coffee beans and water, a fun substitute for an afternoon brew.  I may move to the point as the view there is quite sweeping, the breeze there refreshing, the waters lapping. I had thought this nook might be more private, which it is, but it is quite warm here, tucked away from the afternoon breeze.

There is a great root/trunk of a grand old tree washed up and graying on the sandy beach around the corner from this point. She must’ve been stunning! I also noted empty mussel shells on that beach, and a turd on this point. Perhaps some otters have been visiting here. Now, a merganser paddles by.

ON the portage from Big Porcupine into Ragged Lake, three baby bears were treed over my head. I was carrying the canoe at the time, but the young couple who were carrying in the opposite direction were wide eyed at the sight of them. No sign of the momma was to be found.

Now I observe a young human family, arriving on the campsite opposite us, the children scurrying up the bank with enthusiasm, checking out their home in the woods. Earlier, two adolescent boys down the lake, paddled across the water to find firewood for their evening campfire. Now their axe echoes the labor of their preparing it. It does fill my heart -with gladness to witness these families out here, and, as always, with longing to share this place with my own.

Ah. Such joy, such beauty, such aliveness, such wonder. I found myself feeling sad when paddling out of Bonnechere this morning, as always I do on the last morning. I must admit, though, that I am ready for someone else to prepare me a cup of coffee, a meal, and a soft bed. It will feel good to be pampered at the Bed and Breakfast we have booked for tomorrow evening.

Now, I believe I shall indeed move to the point, take up my Sigurd book, immerse my self a few more times before this trip is over in the beauty of his words, so fitting for the beauty of this place.

Coda. August 8

It’s been over a week since we left the park. As I recall, I got Don down on that point with me later in the evening, after a dusk paddle around the northeastern bays of Ragged Lake. From that jutting granite peninsula we watched the sky unfold its evening garments of color, then mantle of stars, Don’s arms wrapped around my waist as I leaned back into his body.

We were on the water the next morning by 7, and at the north end of Smoke Lake by 8:30, the winds already blowing briskly by then. We were grateful for the early start. After loading our gear into the car, we headed to the Portage Store for ‘breakfast and a show’, overlooking the livery of canoes being doled out to the eager and naïve alike.

We then visited the Art Museum, where I was one again taken by the work on exhibit there, and the Visitor Centre. Then, on to the outfitter, where a new set of gunnels for our Souris River canoe had been dropped off, and a quick visit with Erin before we finally headed south to Gananoque.

By this time, Don was in excruciating pain, once again. It seems that he let down his guard perhaps? when he went back into his regular shoes during our day’s explorations. I am saddened and confused that he is hurting. This healing is surely taking a very long time.



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