Two students, Naomi and Emma, have taken time to reflect on their September canoe trips: what they learned, what they loved, and what they didn’t expect.
Naomi: I have a fear of big bodies of open water, so there were a couple times when we were on lake Temagami (the HUGE main lake) and I didn’t feel very comfortable. Normally when this happens I like to keep those feelings to myself, but this time I decided it would be better for me to tell them how I was feeling. I felt really accomplished in telling them this because normally if someone wants to know how I’m feeling they often have to pry it out of me. I didn’t think that communicating my needs with others would be the thing I would’ve learned from a canoe trip. I imagined my learning would be more along the lines of the difference between a red and white pine (which I also did learn by the way), but I am really glad I learned what I did.
Emma: Whenever I hear the word endure I think of pushing myself for as long as I can. However, if you think about endurance like a runner would need, a big piece of that is learning to conserve your energy for the right moments. If a runner starts a race by sprinting, they will not be able to keep that up the whole race. I had a similar realization on the canoe trip. I wanted to push myself to try new things and explore what I am capable of. As well, within that I needed to learn to take things slow. Although I may have finished a portage last, it meant that I was able to finish the portage without injury and without quitting. I need to have patience with myself in order to be able to push myself to accomplish my goals.
Emma: I loved many things about this trip. One thing I loved was our dinner and debrief times. There was something about talking about a long day and laughing about everything that happened while enjoying some (re-hydrated) food together. Also, it was amazing to see everyone come together to help get dinner ready. It’s a lot of work: starting the fire, filling the billy cans with water, or picking out what food we would eat. We were able to laugh with each other, even if it was about difficult moments in the day that we could’ve easily chosen to pout about, like the time I fell waist-deep into the mud. One thing our instructor said that stuck with me was that when we have tough moments like that, we only have two choices – either cry about it, or laugh it off. I like that.
Naomi: Solo Day: a day of no traveling and staying at camp for a second night. Our leader then said that we wouldn’t be talking to anyone for the whole day and we will disperse throughout the lake so that we literally can’t talk to anyone. I was really NOT looking forward to it. If you know me in real life, I am an extrovert, so not being able to talk to anyone for the entire day was something I had never really thought about doing. When I got to my spot on Bob lake in Temagami I noticed that it had a lot of rocks, moss, and ferns. I plopped my chair down on a rock near the water and that’s where I sat for the whole entire day. At first I couldn’t get into a relaxed state, I was very on edge… so what I did is I played tic tac toe, hangman… after this, I was finally able to focus on some journal questions and enjoy the rest of the time by myself.
I loved watching the sun move from one side of the sky to the other, I loved watching the ants try to crawl up my leg, and I loved hearing the red squirrels hiss at me the entire time I was there. What I realized with my time there is that God created everything there with a purpose. Moss, ants, red squirrels, ferns, and so much more were all created with intention and are important to God, so it ought to be important to us, too. There are so many little things in the world that we don’t really think about on a day to day basis but are so important in this world. I think us as humans need to protect these little things and remember that they are important. Overall I am really glad that I got to experience a day like that, it helped me remind myself how loving God is towards everyone and everything.
If you haven’t yet, take a moment to read Why Do We Go To The Wilderness? Part 1. Thanks for tagging along to hear these stories!