So yes, I realise that I have been MIA for the past few days, and that is because I was on vacation. I know that this is a poor excuse, but I have to honestly explain that when I was back at the family home, it was like I was back to being 16, with no responsibilities, bills to pay, futures to really prepare for, and no stress. So I spent my time with my family, reconnecting with friends, reading some really great books, and venturing out into the wild. To make it up to you, dear audience, I will be posting twice as much this week. Get ready for an overload.
First things first: Algonquin park. The preserved provincial park, beautiful landscapes which inspired the art of Tom Thompson and other members of the group of seven, untouched (for a few decades now, it used to be the site of an old 19th century logging camp) wilderness… mostly, bear, loon, moose, beaver and fly country. And man were there a lot of flies. I must say that the only thing that really put a damper on our commune with nature were the deer flies and the black flies and the regular flies. They swarmed, and stalked, and dive bombed your head while you tried to make your way to the bathroom facilities (I unfortunately am too city much of a city girl now to use out houses or the bush)
We slept early, and I woke up at 7am, the earliest I have ever freely chosen to awaken and it was my favourite moment of the day. The loon’s cries would wake you and you would stretch out the aches in your back (while realizing that the loon’s cries sound frighteningly like a screaming woman) and head out of the tent to start the morning fire. Everything tastes better when cooked over the campfire. I don’t know if it’s because you are achieving a subtle smokey flavour, or if its wilderness magic, but these past few days I have had the best bacon I have ever eaten in my life.
The trails were where you can really catch a glimpse of mother nature in action. The two we walked went through a new spruce forest; a section regenerated from forest fires and logging, which also took us along the edge of a cliff, and the second trail we walked through beaver ponds and alongside dams. The trail guide stated that among all the animals, beavers could be best equated with humans due to their vast potential in changing environments and landscapes. The beaver can transform a river into a lake, into a grassland, into a forest once more. That information really stunned me. You don’t normally equate an animal with being destructive, unless its ruining human development such as termites. The beaver can be a destructive force but it is instinctual. Is it in humanities instinct to be destructive as well?
Both the beaver and the human do what they need to do to survive. We both change the environment to suit our needs. Is that what life is about then? Is it to carve a place for ourselves to best suit what we want?
Anyway, the second best moment would have to be toasted marshmallows and smores… and sandcastle building. I am absolutely horrible at building sandcastles, and mine fell apart as soon as I was “done,” but I had a smile on for the whole endeavor. The smores were 1 part mess, 2 parts delicious. But they should only be done, in my opinion, over a fire as they are part of the wilderness magic.
Overall, I don’t know how much “roughing it” I accomplished in Algonquin, but it was enough to inspire an appreciation both for mother nature, as well as more air conditioning and indoor plumbing.
Photo: Thom Thompson’s “Round Lake, Mud Bay” see original here: http://www.ago.net/tom-thomson