Beyond the sounds of a small bustling tourist town. Beyond the distractions of ‘to do’ lists. Beyond the reminders of certain realities, we can find ourselves in the middle of a lake. A dot on a map, a place beyond the woods.
Carrying 40 plus pounds of a canoe and a loaded pack on our shoulders, we’ve hiked and paddled to get there. Sweaty and bug bitten we find accolades in the middle of the water. Shimmering like glass the lake produces fish playing on the surface, their bodies a wondrous glittery sight. A loon surfaces near the boat, it’s red eyes keeping us in its sights. Somehow they never lose the ability to fill us with awe. A little farther away a mother loon quickly gets her baby on her back, hiding it under her feathers for protection. She may produce an eerie call to summon help from daddy loon, and like magic he will surface near her. The power of a parent’s love shown in a feathered creature, serves as a good lesson to all animals. Our paddles break the stillness of the water, producing subtle swirling currents.
Every lake has its own mystery and its own production. Eagles soar above treetops, calm and sophisticated. Turtles sunbathe on rocks, their shells reflecting the warm sun. We paddle forward and portage on for miles. At last we reach our destination for the night on an Island, where we set up camp. The fire is built, our dinner is cooked, and we sit in serene silence. The fire crackles, the loon’s songs echo across the lake, somehow compelling our weary muscles to relax. A jack rabbit with ears to the moon hops out from a bush and inspects us. When he stands to eat a leaf, he looks like a kangaroo. Somehow he is stranded on this Island until Old Man Winter comes again and the lake ices over. This is the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, this is a spiritual place of refuge. If we are lucky, we will hear a pack of wolves howl or even see the Northern Lights reflect across the vast night sky. All these things are what bring thousands of people to this area each year and we are lucky enough to experience it whenever we want to.
As the sun goes down, it shoots amazing colors of oranges, reds, and yellows across the sky. It’s beauty is enough to turn off our minds and allow us to just sit and watch in stillness. This is the image engraved in our minds when we return to work after the weekend. It’s a promise to us that we can return to the place where the water is like glass whenever we desire. We’ve been promised that we will see something new each time. A moose, a bear, a playful chipmunk, or an array of blooming flowers. There is never a lack of Creation or a shortness of beauty in this place.
“Go outside…..amidst the simple beauty of nature…..and know that as long as places like this exist, there will be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.” Anne Frank