Letter from the Park

<Aug. 29/12.> or, why I so love camping with my friends…

Dear JK:

So, here I am, Day 4 of my Algonquin Park trip. I am not just having a ball, I feel very much as though I’ve died & gone to heaven!!

As I write this, I’m sitting on a sun-warmed fallen log, in full sun, gazing through trees at a quiet lake that is shimmering in the morning sun. Over to the right – or really, at about 12 o’clock from where I sit – is the rock that’s featured at the top of this blog.

Things are getting off to a slow start this morning.

I had a 7:30-ish kayak – the lake positively calling out to me, mist rising over it, sun already up, bird noises over across the way from our island site (the opposite direction from where I sit right now).

I wound up having a marvellous private loon-watching session. I spotted 5 loons, or so I thought, only it was actually 6. They were having a sedate morning, swimming about slowly, making noises I hadn’t heard before, maybe a sort of “Oh, dudes?” noise. Occasionally all diving in one place & coming right back up, then noodling over to a spot where they made that classic loon-call sound – after which, a 7th loon arrived & landed in, then, a few minutes later, an 8th. Each was welcomed by the group & then they all continued noodling around, making the “oh dudes” noise & occasionally another sound I took to be maybe a slight warning call. “Yo. Human nearby. Caution.”

I kept my distance, feeling no need to crowd & disturb them. It was all a quite thoroughly rare & wonderful privilege just as it was!


Two mornings ago L & O saw baby snapping turtles emerging from a hole in the ground, right after cracking out of their eggs – & this not 24 hours after L. had said she hadn’t had enough turtle sightings in her life!!

Yesterday 4 of us had an outing on the Barron River, canoeing & portaging, enjoying a lingering picnic lunch on a glorious rock outcropping by some falls – chatting & eating & breathing in our beautiful surroundings.

Then along the river we went, spotting scene after scene of calm, rock-y (& tree-y) beauty. Barely spotted another human until after we’d arrived (post-bushwhacking episode) at High Falls – a place of such stunning beauty you really MUST see it one day…

Impossible, truly, to describe how wondrous it all is. Natural beauty & peace to die for. & all this with trusted, wonderful people one feels privileged to have as friends. Ahhhhhh…..

Oh. Other wildlife sightings/sounds. A beaver that lives on the point here & who slaps her/himself into the water anytime a human makes her/his way down there. Woodpeckers & a whack of other birds, many of which I can’t identify by name. (P. saw the beaver munching on lily pads on one occasion. One doesn’t see this kind of thing in downtown Toronto, does one??)


Out here some of (many of? Most of??) life’s usual preoccupations & niceties fall away. I don’t brush my teeth as often as I “should,” for example. I wear the same clothes day after day (fresh underwear, mind you, & frequent swims!). Pick fallen food off the ground & eat it quite happily (it’s clean dirt, you know?). Brush dirt out of dishes & call them clean.

We all share in the food prep, cooking, dishes, pumping of drinking water, etc. It’s a team deal, totally – a symphony of cheerful human participation & cooperation.

One of this morning’s thoughts on my kayak excursion was this. Some people think there is – & they work hard to seek, then prove (even protect at gunpoint!) – “the one true way.”

I don’t think there is any “one true way” – only one true way for each of us. I feel I’m living my one true way (detours & all!). With such joy & gratitude I can’t believe it could be anything other than right. For me.

It’s filled with purpose, meaning, awesome people, music, laughter, walking…& gratitude.

Experiences like this one prove I must be doing something right!

Died & gone to heaven.

To quote Kurt Vonnegut, with that phrase he invites us all to think & say as often as possible, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.



p.s. plus, if all the other great stuff were not already “enough,” we’re also having the full moon this week!!! And, we’ve been enjoying excellent live music from our own on-site talented musicians. Do I know how to pick my friends, or do I know how to pick my friends???

**** all canoe trip postings now gathered up under one heading, here 

‘Quote of the day with this post: “What’s important is not what’s gone, but what remains.” ~ from the film ‘Home: A Hymn for the Planet’

Runners-up for Q. of the day:

“Life is short. Break the rules! Forgive quickly. Kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably. And never regret anything that made you smile.” – Source unknown

“My own definition of Dada: an insane lyrical impulse to remain light and carefree, always looking for something to wonder or marvel at, or love, or laugh at, but always remaining illogical and joyous in a world gone mad with too much logic, seriousness, science, newspapers, war, and destruction.” – Irving Stettner