Every muscle burned in unison as we sweated through the final strokes into the gulf. If I could have paddled faster or smiled wider I would have as we spilled into the sweet blue sea. Excitement fueled each paddle stroke with wonder and the salt water scent flew in the wind. The tip of the canoe pointed straight into the abyss of the gulf as we paddled like mad men. We praised in passion and awe of 1000 miles passed in what seemed like an instant and a millenia.
We turned around heading ashore to conclude the final pages of our adventure. As we paddled back I reflected back on those first few strokes of the entire journey, 69 days earlier.
The canoe was loaded up and we pushed out the starting point ramp. Waving our chauffeur goodbye we sang in anticipation of the adventure to come. The canoe wobbled and tracked straight as a tree branch - 2 amateurs taking on the world.
I looked about just as we peeled around the first bend. Surrounded by 6000 foot mountains and water in every direction. It was so vast. I glanced down at the map; Fontana Lake, a thousand finger lakes jetting from the main pool. It was as natural as planning your European backpacking trip with a model globe. The landscape doesn't look much like the map when your that tiny dot in a page of real wilderness.
We pushed onward, miles of water running straight into mountain foothills. I was slowing drifting into a void - stepping into blank space. For a moment there I was cold with fear. Silence struck and it was just us and the wild. I asked myself, "what in the world am I doing out here."
150 pages of maps with squiggles in every direction. And here I am, on page one. I took a drag of mountain air and mentally set forth into what I call "The Great Mystery."
You can always plan it out more. Dig up more details and etch your plans in stone. What you can't plan is the spontaneous essence of Mother Nature. You can't plan it out or control it. And if you try you will quickly find yourself licked and ready to retreat. The only method I found to work is to trust The Great Mystery and use the clues and opportunities it gives.
The cues given by The Great Mystery are what's used to know which moves to make next. Anything from where to set up camp to who to talk to. There is a sign for every turn on the path to keep you on The Way. There is no way to beat nature's happening. Its game is unique to each man and his adventure. He must learn to play the game of the unknown and adapt. Things are always changing and conventional thinking doesn't always apply.
The things that saved you life yesterday can kill you today and those things that didn't work before are your new found solutions. Always stay open to your leads in life - even if they don't agree with your logic. Succumbing to stubbornness will only limit your potential. This helps you move beyond pure linear rationalization and teaches you to "feel" your way through life. How many times has your logic lead you to fail when really you knew the right answer deep down before you even began speculating. This is the key of life.
The feeling of living in accordance with The Great Mystery is one every person needs to find themselves. It is so pure and clean, yet words cannot deliver its lightness. You must experience this on your own. Believe in yourself and allow it to reside with you. The more you release the clutches of control on the world the more harmonious you become. It is what every soul searches for - to be complete.