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Updated: Jan 8

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

If you’ve ever been on a canoe trip you’ll know how much effort go’s into packing.  Planning the clothing, the food, which tent is best, sleeping equipment, snacks, wine and more. It’s all done knowing that you will carry it all on every portage you do.  There is a necessary blend of comfort and efficiency that is required.  And I’m not 30 anymore and so I have to plan for how much I can physically carry.  As I sit to write this article, Jim and I are one day away from leaving for a 6 night canoe trip in the northern part of Killarney.  Our trip leaves from Widgawa Lodge, which interestingly is where Winston Churchill and Theodore Roosevelt met in August 1943 to fish and discuss world issues.  Our trip will take us into remote lake where the Group of Seven painted, and so we have packed our paints in case we are inspired.  More stuff to carry, but it’s all worth it.  It’s been a few years since we have done a canoe trip and I have complete faith that we are strong enough (we’ve been walking with our loaded packs for 2 weeks), and have packed enough warm clothing and all the right gear.  We will respond to whatever comes our way with humour I hope.  There are always things that are unpredictable when you are on a trip.  We have many stories of forgotten equipment or bad weather.  It gives us stories to tell for years.  We are going with 2 other couples who have been friends of Jims for 40 years.  I expect it will be a lovely way to end our summer and transition into fall.  I think it is so important that throughout our entire lives we do things that require us to take risks, be uncomfortable and have faith in ourselves and each other.  It doesn’t matter what the activity is, what matters is that we keep doing things that require us and remind us  to help each other, to be hopeful and calm no matter how challenging the circumstances get.   It I can be so eas to be negative and fearful which contributes to anxiety and doubt. We have to choose to do things that foster faith.   There is a great quote by the Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh that I have heard many meditation teachers tell.   “When the crowded Vietnamese refugee boats met with storms or pirates, if everyone panicked all would be lost. But if even one person on the boat remained calm and centred, it was enough. It showed the way for everyone to survive.”  I love this quote because it is a reminder that we all make a difference.  We all have an impact on the whole.  When I look at the weather forecast for the next week there will be some rain.  The longest portage is 2km long and there are two more that are almost as long.  There will be challenges and I have faith that we will respond and deal with everything.  I have faith in myself, in my husband and in the group.  Send us sunny thoughts!

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