km 1480, august 3. 8m, N 67˚13 W 133˚3. 2:30-9:30pm.
oh my gosh. [emma is staring at her journal saying ‘blah blah blah’]. what an amazing stay we had with danny and paul. my mind went off into the dreamland of ‘i’m going to do this too’. he is living the lifestyle i was dreaming of upriver, at old fort island where i fell in love with the land and where i dreamed of having a homestead and welcoming river travelers every year. danny is DOING that in the middle of his 16 hour workday and he loves it, he loves the company. today he made us aunt jemima pancakes with extra sugar. i should say here that i don’t eat sugar and haven’t for years – i will have the teensiest bit every once in awhile, but mainly i stay away. so, on an empty stomach i had 4-ish pancakes – with blueberry jam on top. oh. yum. but later once we were on the river i got motion sick a little and then i got the shakes. we had to pull over for awhile and i ate something heartier and sugarless and felt much better. it turned out to be a good break though – we almost never have fires simply for pleasure, but since it was a little cool and we had the time, emma and will built a nice fire and we bundled the sage we picked the day before.
we smell like smoke, we are permeated with smoke. everything smells like smoke. the fires we cook with, the smokehouse, our sleeping bags, the air when the forest is on fire.
danny was a fount of wisdom, ideas, angers, opinions and thoughts. he talked about growing up on the land out here, his mom raising five kids while also doing laundry, cooking, gardening and checking the nets 5 times a day. he talked about quitting residential school at 14 and learning to live off the land. he talked about going south and returning home. he talked about seeing the kids growing up today with safe, secure and loving childhoods, and how he was robbed of that due to residential school. he lives without cellphone or TV, and checks his net by canoe. he told us about spruce gum and muskeg tea and how they use poplar to smoke the fish because it’s the best wood.
i am overwhelmed with all of this goodness, kindness and beauty. i am ever thank-full for this time here.
gratitude: a sandbar for calling home tonight; danny and paul for being alive in this world; BEING HERE; clear water to drink; emma; life; dreaming of a steppe bison two nights ago; smoke-free right now; fire – the availability of it!; camping wherever we can find a spot; a summer here.