Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Pact with the Creator

We are not alone,
    we live in God’s world.

Yesterday morning I made what I called a "canoe-icide" pact with Ruth, my wife. It sounds much more dire that it was. In truth, it was a positive commitment to head out somewhere for a paddle even though we both had busy work days ahead of us. It can be mentally tough to come home, put on roof racks and canoe, gather gear and drive somewhere before the physical activity begins. And now that we're in our sixties...enough said.

We fulfilled our pact, eating quickly, and on the Moira River at O'Brien's Bridge shortly after six. We made our way southwest on the river, to the mouth of a stream leading through a maple swamp. A few weeks ago we were there and the river was high enough to wend our way through the swamp and into meadows and woods. Last evening there was a noticeable drop in water level and we didn't get far. Within a week or two it will be inaccessible.

We savoured the moment, just the same. There was a clutch of merganser chicks smaller than those pictured above and we drifted toward them. As we did so what looked like a yearling beaver moved cautiously toward us, curious but tentative. When he/she was half a metre from the chicks the tension was too great, there was a slap of the tail and a dive. The tiny mergansers scattered like water droplets, then quickly reassembled. Momma was nearby frantically attempting to lead us away, so we complied. We sat in the stillness for a while, drinking tea, breathing in the sounds of woodpeckers and bullfrogs, watching kingfishers and blue herons. It was a glorious stillness. On the paddle back we saw a number of Baltimore orioles and swallows and wondered at how magically the trees have come into leaf.

Today I have a committal service, tomorrow a memorial service, Saturday a funeral. All three are for lovely people who lived full and generous lives, are now mourned. In addition a friend experienced a loss this week which is the source of sadness. Our watery foray was a reminder that life surges forth even in the midst of death and offers the Creator's tonic for our spirits. As our "New" Creed of the United Church assures us:

In life, in death, in life beyond death,
    God is with us.
We are not alone.

    Thanks be to God.



roger said...

What a great way to spend an evening. There is nothing quite like feeling so connected to nature. I have great memories of kayaking at my sister's cottage, seeing all the turtles sunning themselves, then at night the sounds of the loons and owls...I could go on.

Judy McKnight said...

I am off to Haliburton for the weekend, where I will be walking in the woods and seeing lots of water fowl and wildlife (including 4 poodles - oh, and probably black flies !) Mayb a campfire as well.

Lori Graham said...

What luck to see the ducklings. There is nothing better than being out in a canoe. We saw our first Great Black-backed gulls not long ago. It always leaves me feeling in awe when we see a new species for the first time :)

David Mundy said...

We haven't been on the water since this outing and I'm missing it. The only thing that rivals being out in a canoe is being out in a kayak!