Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day 60: Get it over with

The Qu'Appelle was making its last effort to win me over. Moose walked by my tent in the morning, as I lay camped out on a gravel bar. It would have been incredible if this was not the Qu'Appelle.

I just wanted to get it over with. I couldn't take it any more.

At the beginning of the trip I was so sure of how an adventure must be handled. If I was ever bored, or got tired of it, why I'd just load the canoe up on the trailer, get on my bike and go. At the very least I would call for help, to be taken away. If I couldn't enjoy it, what was the point? In that way I hoped to safeguard against this feeling.

That had become so foreign. Reality had completely changed. Those thoughts were theoretical, not grounded in this new reality. What do I do? What is life if not packing in the morning, paddling at mid-day, and scrambling for camp at night? Breaking such a routine in the middle of the trip would be as psychologically difficult as starting the trip in the first place. It was doable, surely, but a change seemed even worse than struggling through the last few miles on this never-ending river.

Even small changes are difficult. Early on in the trip, my knots were atrocious. I was quite comfortable using improvised knots, grannies and shoelaces. I knew these knots were bad for some reason, and certainly it sometimes took me awhile to make enough loops that the thing would hold -- and then there was the time to get it all loose again. I knew my curmudgeon was waiting to teach me his knots, but I wasn't ready yet. It would be a major change in procedure. Of course, when I finally did learn the proper knots I couldn't imagine going back. So much quicker to tie and untie, and more secure as well. It's just the change that is hard.
I knew I would eventually have to leave the river, but all I needed to do to get off the Qu'Appelle would be to suffer out these last couple of days. As bad as it migh be, trying to bike out was too inconceivable.

In these thoughts I quit the day early. I rejuvenated myself reviewing my maps, reading, and writing. That freed me from worries of time, space, and distance.

This is a constant struggle that can never be fully resolved. I exist in both present and future, and must care for myself in both these places. The more I tend to myself in the present, the more the season will advance and the harder the future becomes. But if I live only for the future I might never get there.

Day 60 ended: 50*31.252N, 101*40.816W

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