The River is Calling Me
Last night I went for a walk before turning in. I needed some fresh air, I needed to see the stars…
It was a beautiful night in Alberta – the temperature hovered around the freezing point. The night air was calm with only the slightest breeze, the fresh cool air felt wonderful on my cheeks. I felt reinvigorated by the gentle breeze. The stars twinkled in the dark sky, not as brightly as back home but there they were sharing the night with a bright white crescent moon.
I am not used to being in a city. I walked the streets of the neighbourhood taking in my surroundings. It was ten o’clock, most people were still up – I saw many large screen tvs illuminating people’s living rooms. Behind me the sound of cars driving to and fro filled my ears. To the west of city, the constant whiz of the highway traffic was relentless. I wondered where all these people were going at this late hour. Many were off to work I’m sure for night shift duty. I missed my quiet wilderness home, I missed the peace and tranquility of the country life.
I didn’t miss any of this city life, I grew up in Canada’s capital. With modern conveniences come modern price tags. My simple and mostly uncomplicated life demands more physical effort sometimes, but I like that. I like growing my own food, I like cutting firewood and I like staying active – I would rather work at daily chores than driving to work everyday. I don’t miss the rat race; I am glad I left it behind.
I pushed the busyness of the city out of my mind – my thoughts turned to the near future. I longed to be on the river, I longed to start our cross Canada paddling journey. I need it. I need to get out there and immerse myself in wilderness, it’s where I feel the most alive. Spending time in nature heals me – it recharges my battery better than anything else I can think of. When I lose myself, when life gets complicated – I retreat to the woods, I jump in my canoe and I paddle my stress away. When I need to ground myself – I turn to nature.
It won’t be long now, a few weeks – a month at the most – and we will be on our way. It won’t be an easy journey – paddling 5000 kilometres with over 90 portages is a daunting task to say the least. I expect to encounter all kinds of weather – all kinds of animals and all kinds of surprises. I also expect I’ll have the time of my life!
Today the sun is shining, we will reach a high of 7 degrees Celcius and by Friday they are calling for a balmy 15 degrees. It’ll be hard to wait for the river to completely thaw, I’m like a child waiting for Disneyland to open its gates (even though I’ve never been there). Until then, I will continue to make the final preparations – I will continue to wait for the river to be ready for me. Every night when I fall asleep, I hear it calling to me: Come, come paddle my beauty, come see what I have to show you…