The preceding pages tell mostly the physical aspects of my journey. I wore a watch, I timed segments of my travels, I knew how many miles I had covered, and I attached a small thermometer to my pack and knew that the lows were around 50° in the morning. The trip made demands on my 53-year old body; I had to rest.
But there was another dimension that is hard to speak of and hard to put into words. There is a joy that comes and flows through you at times when your mind is quiet when the internal dialog stops. I remember standing by my canoe at the Echo Trail and visualizing a huge irregular bowl that was releasing water into the Little Indian Sioux River, water that had to squeeze under the little bridge there. For a moment I felt a part of that flow and in my travels I often thought of how the water I paddled through would eventually go under that bridge. The water was almost conscious; it knew what to do just like the budding leaves knew exactly how to become full size. I was an insignificant part of all of this.
I had ideas of opening higher senses but I found myself talking to the unfolding life around me and being healed in the process. At Bootleg some deep undifferentiated sadness welled up and knotted in my throat. I said to myself, "There is nobody here. You can do anything." I began to dance around and said to all the life around me, "As you flow, take this sadness with you. Take this sadness away." Very suddenly it was gone and I felt much lighter and I visualized the bowl again and felt that I had sent something downstream while I moved upstream.
At Glemore I talked to the wilderness again. I had brought some cuff links that belonged to my father who died two years ago. The campsite was high above the water and I decided to throw them into the lake. Before I did I spoke to my father. I thanked him for all the good things he had done for me. I forgave him for ways that he had hurt me and ignored me. Waves of memories came out, faster than I could say. I ended by saying that the throwing of the cuff links didn't mean I was forgetting him. I felt instead a strong commitment to my family and a need to focus on them. So I threw them in and felt a warming and an opening in my heart.
I also felt that most of the animals were omens or answers to questions I had. For example, after a very tiring day, I thought, "Why am I doing this?" Almost immediately a beaver appeared near shore and headed across the lake. The answer was clear to me: it's what the beaver does. I am also compelled to do this; it's my nature. When I left Bootleg on my last day a beaver again appeared but this time turned completely away from me and slapped his tail. It meant (I knew this with a deep certainty), "farewell and good riddance." I'm convinced that beavers have complex personalities.
I am still pondering the meaning of seeing the wolf and having it ignore me.