Civilization Isn’t That Civilized

Those of you who follow this blog will know that my family and I spent last week canoeing in the Woodland Caribou Provincial Park in northern Ontario’s boreal forest.  It seems that the world has done as well (or poorly) as usual without my daily posts here, and I confess to some reluctance about getting back into cyberspace. It’s a world which can very easily eat up the minutes in a day until minutes turn into hours which turn into whole days lost at my desk.

Life in the wilderness was physically challenging (we did a total of 55 portages over our seven days of canoeing) but spiritually refreshing. We canoed routes that had been traveled since time before memory by the First Peoples of this continent. We saw drawings they left behind, amazingly still visible on the rock face rising out of the lake. We saw turtles, otters, loons, kingfishers, moose, and even a bear. We gratefully ate fish that had been plucked from the lake an hour earlier.

Now we’re back, and headlines blare out about the intransigence in Washington, the stock market plunging, the Harper government slashing nearly 800 jobs at Environment Canada, devastating drought in Texas, riots in London, famine in the Horn of Africa, and the list goes on…

Civilization just doesn’t seem that civilized after a week in the wilderness. I don’t know the whole answer to how one stays sane and hopeful in an insane and often cruel world. But I do know that I just had the good fortune to spend a week canoeing in our beautiful Canadian wilderness, and I will cherish it. I think it might be that cherishing the people and experiences, even uncomfortable ones, in one’s life is part of the answer. Now I’m off to do just that.

Woodland Caribou Park, August 2011:


0 thoughts on “Civilization Isn’t That Civilized”

  1. Good post Christine. I kind of felt the same way returning to “civilization” although I did appreciate my shower and bed (and kitchen and air conditioning). I looked up your neck of the woods on Google Maps and sadly it was too far out of our route to manage. Enjoy drawing out re-entry as long as possible!

    • You had your own camping adventure this summer, Dawn! Luckily we had no major equipment malfunctions (although there was the time I sprayed myself and Mark with bear spray while hoisting my backpack on!). Next time, maybe you and Ross can work in a paddle in one of Ontario’s most remote parks into your schedule – we’d be happy to take you around!
      (ps Thanks so much for the gift of “One Thousand Gifts”. I loved the book, it was a well-timed reflection-inducing read for me, and I’ve passed it on to my daughter Kate, at her request)

  2. WONDERFUL photos! My favourite is the one where you have a shot of the two pools with the tiny waterfall. It reminds me very much of a Japanese garden…but once again shows us that mother nature simply cannot be improved upon.

    As for the 55 portages…I’m afraid that would do me in. Keep it up while you are young and healthy enough Christine, believe me, the memories will stay with you forever.

    Welcome back!

  3. absolutely beautiful pics.. thanks!

    great title to this post… it says all that needs to be said.. isn’t simplicity just wonderful?!


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