Saturday, August 31, 2013

8/31/13-Joyfully to the Breeze

Joyfully to the Breeze
                                                                     Tyler Schrapf
                  “Joyfully to the breeze, royal Odysseus set his sail, and with his rutter, skillfully he steered.” – The Odyssey. Out here with all this majesty and glory I have been feeling rather privileged, like a young prince. My life has lead me to this extraordinary chapter. While we may not be sailing like young Odysseus, the concept of ruttering is all too prevalent, as several members of the expedition still struggle to stay in formation.
                  After our first long hard day of +14 miles, I was reminded of a quote from my favorite American tall tale; The Ballad of John Henry the Steel Drivin’ Man. – “A man ain’t nothin’ but a man, but before I’ll let that steam drill beat me down, I’ll die with a hammer in my hand.” Replace hammer with paddle, and steam drill with river, and you wind up with the general attitude of our group as we compete to catch up with our pace to complete the expedition on time after several days of inclement weather.
                  The campsite we are staying at is remarkably modern. There is running well water, a dock, and some very friendly Canadians who brought us firewood, diet soda, fresca, and bottled water. – And they let us stay for free. As we continue our journey, I think of all my loved ones back home who I know are praying for us every day I ask for patients and strength, and the ability to grow and love.
                  If ECOEE has taught me one profound lesson thus far, it is that like love, nature is patient, and if treated with respect, nature is kind. It will provide. As I become increasingly accustomed to this backcountry lifestyle, I often find myself wondering how it will be to go back to a world of telecommunications and fast food.
                  As I exit my final day as leader of the week, I enter a period of deep reflection on my actions and intentions, and I am reminded of a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson – “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” . . . Alas, tomorrow is a new day, and 3 sets of rapids with the possibility of 5 portages will be pondered upon as I sleep – Goodnight.

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