This summer I was fortunate to be able to Guide with MHO and be on expeditions in many beautiful places around Ontario that I had never been before. Each of these trips was so different not just because of the area, but also because of the wide range of incredibly unique and amazing humans I got to meet and spend time with in these remote and wild places. As different as they all were there was a similarity amongst all of them; gratitude. Everyone was incredibly grateful to be away from whatever was happening at home and to just be on the water in nature with their loved ones.
Grieving the Loss of Normal
In our daily lives right now, we are all grieving the loss of normal, which manifests in so many ways. For the four-year-old it’s not being able to visit friends, for others it’s a change in job or moving homes or not being able to play the team sport. Loss and change is hard and can suck, and within all of it there is so much to be grateful for.
In many Indigenous communities it is part of everyday routine to share gratitude’s to the people and the natural world. Whenever something is taken from the land, gratitude is shown through prayer, through an offering of some sort, commonly sprinkling Tabaco. By taking only what you need and leaving what is needed so that the ecosystem can continue to thrive. And by simply saying thank you out loud to the sun and the sky, the birds, the water and the plants that allow us to take so much from them.
Focus on the Good
It is a proven fact that those who celebrate gratitude’s feel more happiness and live with more joy in their lives. When we focus on the good in our lives and what we have in that current moment we are more open to receiving joy. I am grateful for the people I was to meet and spend time with on beautiful rivers this summer, to be able to escape from the crazy and uncertain world and connect with people in a simple wild and beautiful place and cultivate joy out there by being grateful to the river. As the seasons change and the paddling days get shorter I continue to share gratitude’s to the place where I feel the most joy; the river.
I am grateful to the river because it is powerful and relentless, but also predictable.
I am grateful to the river because when you are in a rapid or surfing a wave there is nowhere else that you can be. You can only be in the present, in that moment feeling the movement of your boat through the water in a way that can feel so exhilarating and peaceful at the same time.
I am grateful for the river because it quenches my thirst on hot days and provides me with hot tea on cold mornings.
I am grateful to the river for the sounds it makes that lull me to sleep at night and the mist it creates in the morning, that I watch evaporate to reveal a reflection of calm and beauty that is unmatched by any mirror.
I am grateful for the river in the way that it teaches me and humbles me.
I am grateful for the river because it brings people and nature together in a way that feels whole
And as winter approaches, I am grateful for the ice that will form and provide me with a new way of traveling on skis.
I will wait patiently and with my heart filled with joy knowing that in the spring I can surf that wave again and travel to beautiful and wild places with more wonderful humans.