Recently I had the opportunity to drive north and deliver a truckload filled with generous donations from St Maurice Catholic Church in Ottawa to the First Cree Nation of Waswanapi. The donations were overwhelmingly generous and heartfelt. Handmade afghans, quilts, dishes, clothes and art. New sheet sets and blankets, books and toys and craft supplies. I was humbled and moved by people’s generosity and kindness and so I set out on my solo trek north to personally make sure that the supplies arrived where they are needed.
For those of you who know me, one of my weaknesses is my sense of direction so the idea of driving for almost eight hours through the North was intimidating. But I pushed through my fear and just drove. This post is as about my journey.
The Canadian near north is more beautiful than I ever imagined.
There is an independence and strength is the landscape. Abundant in trees, wildlife and fresh water. Birds flew and I stopped a couple of times to just really take in the beauty of this land. I wanted to feel the joy of seeing my first eagle soaring above. I wanted to feel the joy of seeing a moose in the distant. I was elated when a deer stood and stared at me from a short distance away. Our eyes met. I felt peace. I stopped to listen – not to the highway sounds, I was only one on the road – but to the wind. I had never heard the sounds of the Canadian wilderness. It was ennobling.
I had lots of time to think. I arrived late so we unpacked mid morning the next day. A dog helped – he tried to get us to play fetch with one of the balls of donated wool. Irene seemed really excited – about how these gifts could be used to enrich lives. You could just tell – she loved to enrich people’s’ lives. I thought about the people who donated so generously – they too gave with the hope that a life could be enriched. And yet they gave without being able to see the smiles, hear the laughter, feel the beauty of the Canadian North.
This is my way of thanking each of you. In typical Canadian manner, Irene asked, “There is so much here, more than we need, may I share it with communities north who need it?”
And with that, I started the long journey home. So to all of you who share of what you have to anyone in need, thank you.
It is with faith, love and hope that we continue to build this country: the land that connects us with our commitment to share and care for each other. We need to again see what we share and we must together dream of what we can build
To close, I will use the words of a companion Women for Nature ; Margaret Atwood:
Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does. Margaret Atwood The Penelopiad