Friday, July 31, 2009

A journey begins

On the eve of first pedaling from the Pacific I wondered why I pondered this scene. It is of Lake Mistassini, the largest in Quebec. I have had the good fortune of paddling its massive waters at the start of long trips into the Cree wilderness. It lies at about 50 degrees north. The typical paddler leaves the Cree post of Mistassini and travels north on a slender bay. Then the lake abruptly gapes open. An inland ocean, it shows up on the world globe. To the north, the view goes on forever. The lake’s tentacles bend to the horizon. Its waters arc poleward into a seeming vast unknown. Sure, maybe it’s familiar territory to the modern traveler that can peer down on the land from a jet, or check it out on the internet. But when you paddle a canoe or pedal a bike, life slows down. It brings you back to the ground, which isn’t a bad thing in the modern era. Everything boils down to the lake or road beneath your feet. The rest is a ‘great beyond,’ made up of many faraway hills and rivers to cross.

I think over again my small adventures,
My fears-those small ones that seemed so big.
For all the vital things I had to get and reach.
And yet there is only one great thing,
The only thing,
To live to see the great day that dawns,
And the light that fills the world.

Inuit proverb

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