Bountiful Waters

Exit the tent and almost every walk involves elevation thus so effort and energy expenditure. The easiest walk is down to the waters edge. When I’m feeling lazy, I go fishing. Fishing 101: bait hook, cast line, haul in fish. That’s basically all there is to it…except for the ‘cast again, cast again, cast again’ part. With a full larder, fish on the menu falls into the ‘bonus’ category, instead of ‘survival’.

So the option of fishing, with no promise of a catch and no burning need to gather food is weighed against the effort of a stroll. The choice is clear: yep, I did say lazy.

The shore is 300m away from camp. It’s easy to fetch (or carry) stuff needed (fork, knife, pot). The smells associated with cleaning-cooking fish are away from the tent. A ready supply of drift wood for the fire is located on the beach strip. All the elements needed are close at hand to entice the slackest of fishermen. And still…I wonder, where do I get this feeling that I must be ‘doing something’? why is doing nothing, idleness a goal in itself? With little introspection, I casually label that Protestant work ethic as the nagging voice in my head and try to move on to greater things.

On occasion, there are times when all pretence of fishing is gone…the rod abandoned, I slowly poke along, camera in hand. Once, hunched over, intent on photographing some berries, a caribou almost ran over me. At the last minute, I raised my head, hearing the clatter of hooves on beach stones, he reared and bounded around me. Of course the camera was set on ‘macro’ thus no photo. But mostly, it’s only me and waves and the beach. This is what it should be all about. 

 In the early hours, we are woken simultaneously by a loud boom boom boom and vibration of the ground. At first I think “rock fall” but the sound is wrong being muffled instead of the metallic of rock bashing against other rock. Earthquake? With a howling wind, in the half light of 5am, we dress and exit the tent to investigate.

There, in Alfred’s harbour, the Aven has been flipped end to end and now floats 30’ away, in the shallow tide creek. We are stunned, having taken every provision to secure her safely, knowing that high winds frequent this mountainous area. After every excursion, we haul her twenty feet up a small creek (out of the tide’s reach), slide her over sea grasses on to the land , before flipping her upside down, nestled in the protection of a low bank. Not stopping there, the bow is rocked, anchored and two belly straps are securely spiked into the tundra.

The wind, although stiff, is manageable – we can stand up and yell to each other. It must have been an extreme freakishly strong gust which somehow got under the boat and ripped her from the land moorings. The damage seems to be minor, with only hairline cracks along the gunnels (although a closer daylight inspection reveals more). I wonder if Sila has been angered somehow…does Sila have feelings, moods, emotions? How do you appease Sila?

”…Sila… a raw life force that lay over the entire Land; that could be felt as air, seen as the sky, and lived as breath”

(Earlier I read:  ‘sila’, the essential essence. Passed back and forth and shared by all living things, the air in my lungs could have been inside a caribou, a black bear, a net veined willow. More than just breathe or air or oxygen, it is an influential life force to be carefully considered, as its very use can shape events or outcomes. Words must carefully considered as sila is expelled, shaping ideas, giving intent to thoughts.)