Solitude

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Some folks are very uncomfortable with solitude.   In this life of mass electronics and social media, it seems no one can stand to sit still in silence.    In the wilderness there is a silence that hurts your ears.  Your ears ring, straining for any noise… And when it comes, a mouse scurrying by the tent can sound like a bear!  I was uncomfortable with it at first.  Then as time went by it became something I would long for… A chance to hear my own voice and that of God….

For a long time after Dan passed away I would sit at the cemetery – just sit – straining to hear his voice – trying to come to grips with being alone – there is silence involved  — a ringing in my ears at night with only my whispers to Jesus…

 

Psalm 46:10  Be still and know that I am God

Flag

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Today being Memorial Day I am reminded of something we did early on in our canoe trips – it was to fly the American flag in the front of the boat…

As you can see it looked so pretty flying up there… and it was a great way to greet people in passing.  They would wave, salute, do thumbs up… but the most poignant time was on 9/11.  After we received word of the attack on the twin towers we started our journey back.  We were three days from the landing… on the portages we would meet others – some who knew about it, some who did not.

One group of men, two brothers and their elderly father turned out to be from New York.  They had not told their dad because their sister worked in the World Trade Center.  They did not know if she was there….. they were waiting word, trying to save him the agony of knowing, at least until they had information.  Even in that vast wilderness on a trail some thirty miles from civilization the world can come crashing in.  You can’t run from tragedy, you can’t hide.  Even the most unthinkable must be faced. But Americans are a strong people…

We flew that flag with pride… and on that day with sorrow…

 

Psalm 34:18  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit…

Pen to Paper

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Travel journals are really a priceless treasure that looks into past adventures, and I cannot tell you how immersed I have been in them since starting this blog. The memories are flooding over me and for the first time in over 2 years I can smile again as the times spent in that beautiful place come back to me…. If you don’t journal your travels through life, start… It may enhance looking back some day…

Many times I would get out the journals when Dan was alive and read some of the trips out loud while we rested in bed.  I remember the laughter, because you know there is always that disaster that was not so funny at the time, but looking back its hilarious!

Like the night we had a bear roaming around camp searching out our food pack, and poor Dan had to go out to the stool, (that’s another story) and the bear got closer to the tent and I looked for the handgun we carry for emergencies and low and behold, my brave husband had taken it with him!

Or the time our phone was going off in one of the packs while we were loading and Dan had his hands digging in the pack looking for it and then my hands were helping him and he looked up at me and said, “Who is holding on to the canoe?”  And sure enough it was headed down the lake with half of our gear!

I love this entry..    Thur. 9/15/11   ” Well we didn’t do anything this am.. Had breakfast and went back to the tent and slept and read!   Deal with it!”

And then there are the serious entries… the day I felt something was wrong and was able to call home  – it was 9/11.   And being surrounded by fires. (we will get to that)

I was on the 3rd journal when we had to stop going on our canoe trips… It’s only half full.  I guess it’s time to start a new type of journal, one that features a single paddler.  Not to the BWCA/Quetico but perhaps God will show me some new and exciting adventures to journal!

 

It’s the beauty that fills me with wonder, it’s the stillness that fills me with peace. R Service

 

 

 

Journey Home

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This post seemed way out of sequence when I contemplated writing about it, since I have only started telling you about our days in the BWCA/Quetico, but God pressed it on my heart so here it is….

When Dan and I ventured into the wilderness we normally stayed about 10 days, though some trips were shorter and some longer.. Yes, there were trips that were 14 days long.  Now think about that… Spending 14 days in the wild with your husband, no people, no electronics, no television, just you and him.  Oh and the squirrels, birds and occasional moose or bear…  and of course your packs, which we talked about last post…

But I must tell you that for Dan and I, it was glorious.  Real love is like that.  Dan was an awesome conversationalist, a history buff about the days of the “Voyagers” and was well read in the journals of all that went on in that era.  We could talk for hours… or not at all.  It was all good… And the love… My goodness – you have not lived until you have been in the wild with your lover!

But I noticed in my journals there is one common thread.  On the last day out the entry always had these exact words – “hard to leave” – “sad to go”.

I would always be crabby and quiet on that last day, not wanting to leave… probably could have stayed up there forever, but Dan handled it better.  Now after 14 days he had quite the beard going, and we were looking pretty rough.. He would  look forward to getting home, having a shower and shave, a tasty cheeseburger… And he talked about next year, where we would go, planning the trip…

He faced dying that way too… said those exact words – “hard to leave” – “sad to go”.  If you have the honor of the holy event of someone passing on into the arms of their Jesus, you will understand that when someone knows they are going to be with God, the journey is planned.  It’s for sure… I know our time apart is only temporary – that’s what keeps me going…

Friends, after all we are just “walking each other home”

 

2 Corinthians 5:8  Yes, we are of good courage, and would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord…

Pack for joy…

BWCA 2004 154Matthew 11:30    For my yoke is easy and my burden is light….

It was so fun to start putting the packs together for a long canoe trip into the BWCA or Quetico. (Quetico is the Canadian side) I would start at least a month ahead, planning each meal and laying out all the items for each pack.

  • We had: a house pack which included the tent, pads, and bedding
  • a kitchen pack which had all the cooking items and stove
  •  a clothing pack
  • and finally the food pack which was a hard-sided box (good deterent for bears)

During the trip I found it so satisfying to go through the packs and organize everything.  It amazed me that we got along so well without all the trappings in life… Just the basics… it is the most freeing feeling…  Life becomes so uncomplicated…  All you have to do is paddle, make camp, cook, clean up, and rest… Rest your head from everything except what God has made in that beautiful place.  And enjoy each other…

Dan never liked the packs to weigh over 50lbs. but inevitably that food pack was a monster.  Toward the end of our trips Dan said he just couldn’t do those heavy packs anymore.  We went on shorter trips… Less gear.. little did we know that the reason Dan struggled was because the cancer had started growing on his spine, causing severe pain.

Keep your packs light my friends…

  • I will find joy in my heart
  •  With you I will reach heaven,      With you I will see a new world
  • There will be peace..       Sarah Brightman

Paddling through it….

bwca 2005 084When we went into the wilderness canoeing I learned early on that different strokes propelled the canoe in several directions… It took many years for me to perfect the          J-stroke.  Like the word implies you add the “J” to the forward stroke.  This keeps the canoe going forward in a straight line when paddling tandem.  Not as easy as it sounds believe me.  My husband Dan was a master at handling the canoe.  Sometimes I wondered if I even needed to paddle, but of course, I did.  Especially in rough water.  I loved it when the wind was at our back so I could sit back and relax and he would just steer the boat across the lake… sometimes dragging a lure to catch supper…

That is the way a marriage should be… Paddling together, keeping a straight line, sometime letting the other coast a little.  It’s hard, like the J Stroke…

I miss Dan with every fiber of my being, but I am so grateful for all the times he took me to the wilderness, because I could never have done it by myself.  He once gave me a gift of a book “Chased By The Light” by Jim Brandenburg.  it’s a marvelous collection of photos of northern Minnesota.  On the inside cover he wrote:

To Deb:   I love you and hope you enjoy this book as much as I love taking you to those places….

I was truly blessed…

I have wanted so long to write this blog.  I’ve wanted to talk and share all the joys and trials that a woman goes through in her life. Doesn’t it seem sometimes that life is just a series of letting go?.. There have been some very hard times in my life recently, and I would bet in yours too.. Let’s share…

This picture was taken in the BWCA – Boundary Waters Canoe Area in 2005.  I will be sharing many photos and experiences from the journeys that my husband and I took over the course of the 14 years we traveled there.  I remember this evening well, it was so warm and lovely, and the colors of the evening were exotic and i could not quit taking pictures. I wish I had taken more of him, my Dan, but who knew he would be gone from my life too soon… I will talk about that too… Grief…

And being a woman, well that involves so many issues and experiences all of our own right?  God created us in such a unique and lovely way.  I’ll be talking about Him too.. My King, my Jesus…

I hope you will frequent my page… it’s going to be a work in progress… Bless you..

Deb