Saturday, March 19, 2016


I rest in the shallow channel behind Great Flat after paddling up to the top of the upstream bar and letting the current and wind push me over a long stretch of water that was not much more than 6 inches deep.  I started late, not putting in until almost noon, preferring to spend the morning with S, who has just given me a book on how various cultures connect spiritually with nature.  I have been pondering and exploring my own relationship for some time.  It is a bottomless cup of really really good coffee.

I'm not sure why the author started with the Australian Aborigines.  Their connection to the land is so deep and ingrained, and so unique that it almost makes my brain hurt to try to absorb it.  It is foolhardy to try to understand it.  At best, I absorb the ideas that can find housing within my own understanding.  But, the idea that, within the environment, so many seemingly insignificant features are sacred is a favorite.  That there is a song and a dreaming for a rock outcrop of no obvious importance, and that the knowledge has been shared and passed on is for endless generations...mind numbing.

Often, when I talk about my own spiritual connection and experiences, I find people nodding and agreeing.  But, I know that they don't get it...not the way that I do.  It's not something lacking in them, it's just that such a connection is so deeply personal, so one on one, that no one can really get "it".  Of course, I cannot hope to fully understand their relationship either.  Their experiences can be equally as powerful and I will probably find them just as incomprehensible.  The best we can do is accept each other and absorb what each other has when possible.  What is most important is that you have found someone else that has a relationship with the natural world.  That is, in itself, hope for the world.  It is what the world needs more of.

The wind is out of the west and north with the tide falling.  I followed the west shore to take advantage of calmer air and with a good current I discovered a number of eddies that helped propel me upstream.  There were very few birds to note...some Canada geese, some distant common mergansers, and a flock of 35 shore birds that I was unable to identify.  They looked like small ducks in flight, but they flew in murmuration, which is not duck-like behavior.  I suppose they are in migration.  I use a new paddle painted as a grade pole (for measuring elevation) on one side, and photo reference grid on the other.  It seems on this day that it is for measuring the unmeasurable.


ellen said...

I do get it- and I had this discussion today also with a friend- it's the best feeling in the world- that connection- and it takes time to develop... yay Scott-

Jeff in Mystic said...

I always enjoy your posts and have been following for a couple of years now. I paddle a C1 racing canoe 100 hours March through October mostly in the Mystic/Pawcatuck, CT area. Try the Pawcatuck river one of these days.