|A happy group arrived at NorthWoods Steward Ship Center|
left to rt: Bridie, Nimrod, Zane, Sam, Serene, Rosa, Mathilde, Jon, Jake, Tim, Julian, Tobias.
Misha and Nate in the front
Only a few days after I wrote down the last update, I sit here at the office of Northwoods Stewardship Center, writing my last update. We’ve gone about 300 miles since base camp in Marlow, NH and we’re now at the half point of our journey. Spring teases us with coming for a day or two and then disappearing in a blizzard. This morning was around 0°F, and almost 3 feet of snow are still on the ground; yet catkins are appearing on trees, the sun is out for warm bits occasionally and we know spring won’t fail us. As we settle into base camp life in Northwoods, building our little village and wrapping up the winter expedition, we look towards spring: new big jobs, pounding ash for baskets, building canoes, carving paddles and preparing for our life on the river.
There isn’t going to be a long update about the last few days so I will just add a few words about small group solos. After a long, hectic expedition preparation which went way into the night (most went to sleep between 12:30 and 2 AM), we woke up at the usual waking time, had a big, protein rich breakfast for heroes, finished our last-minute preparations, took down our camp, filled our water bottles with maple sap and set out in our groups of four. Tobias, Rosa, Mathilde and Tim set out first. Not long after Heartbeet they found a road-killed porcupine named Jimmy, which they skinned, gutted and roasted over the fire. Their tales are unknown from there, except the fact that they reached Northwoods safely. The second group to set out was Zane, Bridie, Julian and myself – we travelled fast across the North Country, so fast we almost forgot to camp one night. The third group was Sam, Jake, Serene and Jon, who did everything the right and safe way.
To conclude this update, I will just say I loved talking to y’all over the last 10 weeks. To those who are confused, this is not the last update, but rather the last update I will write. So, goodbye!
Quote of the expedition: “Certainty of Death, Small Chance of Success, What are we Waiting For?” Gimli, son of Gloin
A Very Long Poet’s Yurt
On our last night
We slept together side by side
Held in a cradle of tree limbs
Projected by the moon onto our tent
I remember the feeling
So eager and ready for the dawning of tomorrow.
A beautiful sight that doesn’t fade as you age.
I have opened my eyes to this beautiful starry sky by opening the stage curtain, for this is better than the constant cage I am certain.
The green boughs as my cradle,
The thermos cup as my ladle.
The wood to burn
Will keep me warm in turn.
This very memory of that night
Will stay shining bright
As long as the stars keep shining at night.
Sharing one talent
To play one song
A fiddle and guitar.
I’m working but I want to work harder
I want to work and think only of my work
I want my hands to know where to go
And what to do
I’ve known idle time
I’ve known endless comfort
How it can kill
Body and soul
I don’t want to work for the end result
I want to work for the work itself
Because life is work
I want to stomp out all signs of my
I want to never shy away from
The necessary effort
From the next task
From the painful, difficult but vital parts
The forest is my friend
As I sat under boughs and sticks
Warm in the winter snow
Who was it who told me
To be cautious of the woods
To be safe and not get lost
And be careful not to trip on roots?
‘cause the other day
I fell down the stairs
And they didn’t feel any safer to me
Than a fallen tree or bush
Who was it who warned me
About the cold and snow?
‘cause I’m feeling mighty warm right now
Out in the dark cold
I snuggled my feet towards the fire
And laid my head on boughs
And thought of all the good hard work
Right here in my hands.
Strong presence and large vibrations
They come across the stream
Slithered over our tangled veins
Threw down their burdens and took all
They take from us
They change the scene, changing the sounds,
Changing the smells, smoke, food, socks,
The odors of a dozen or so unwashed
They change the vibrations
Slamming axes, dragging saws, moving feet
Now they are silent, lost in their thoughts
Them like us are growing
But them unlike us are going
This is only a stop on the map
A moment in a much larger scheme
Will they even remember taking our boughs
And our wood? Probably not. Will they ever
Come back? Probably not. But for now they
Making me appreciate the sun.
Cold, blue. Bright.
Through the frigid air
Radiates a warmth.
Warmer, freezes deeper
Bringing the burden of the heavens
And the freedom of that weight
In the confines of my mind
Is no longer a distraction.
Will you join me on this
Wild adventure through the woods?
We might get lost, we may get hurt
We will get tired
But we will do it together
We will lift each other up along the way
When the going is hard
Our hands/minds will work together
For we are a family on this adventure.
Fear fills most hearts when exploring the
Dark spaces of their brain. The forgotten
Memories, some decidedly left behind, others
Blissfully washed away. But still forgotten,
It is not often one gets to
Sit by themselves and think deep. Putting
On the Indiana Jones hats and
Diving into the unknown regions of self.
Most see their caves, and shy
Away wishing for company to comfort them
Out of the self. Those people are lonely.
It is only when you can be at peace
With your past, present and future
That you can find serenity and joy
In being alone.
Being lonely is not bad, seeking comfort
And confidence in someone helps you grow
In a completely different way.
But next time you find yourself looking down a dark corridor
Turn off your light
And take a step
And welcome what comes with understanding
And a sense of gratitude
And learn to be alone.
I would stay here and live well. Live
Beautifully, here by this stream, these
Trees, this open sky, these three people
That I have around me. This is not all
There is in the world, and I would not
Stay forever. But for a few days,
We could build a life here, if we
Had them. Let our souls settle for
Fire, so much power
Burning so brightly
In forest so nightly.
Fire, warmth and strength
The secret to success
Of the human race.
This is to you,
Friend, foe and lover,
Who stands beside me,
Against me and behind me.