I have taught the ways of the wilderness for well over thirty years and have authored a novel which dives deep into the shadows that follow you as you traverse wilderness trails. It is my hope to reach as many people as possible to tell everyone that the wilderness is not a place to be wary of. It is the only place where a person can dig deep into their soul and find that which is hidden to them by modern day society.
~ R.G. Wright - Hawks Shadow

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

"Dam" Beavers!

How many times have you cursed the number of beaver dams blocking your route as you traverse a river?

The itinerary you painstakingly worked on during the planning stages of your trip is now in serious jeopardy of failure. A far distant lake is going to serve as your sanctuary for the coming night, yet this small wall of sticks, stones and mud is hampering your forward momentum.

"Damn Beavers!" You yell aloud to the reeds and cattail that surround you like a living wall as you pull your canoe and gear over the engineering works of the resident beaver. 

In reality, the problem is not caused by the beaver and it's penchant for building dams; the problem exists within our minds. 
We are habituated to time schedules and as such, anything that impedes our progression becomes an irritant.

It takes me several hours of paddling to leave my "society" mind behind. The pressures of everyday societal life slough off me as my paddle digs into the water. The first few beaver dams I encounter are considered annoyances, the following dams are welcomed. Without the dams, we would be forced to portage or walk our canoes down many water courses. 

The beaver builds the dam to ensure adequate water for its existence. That sequestered water is deep enough to navigate with a fully loaded canoe. 

The much maligned beaver is in fact responsible for shaping the multitude of original watersheds found throughout Ontario. Without this large rodent, Ontario would not be a paddlers paradise. 

I grew fond of these large intelligent creatures while traversing the forests and ponds of my youth. Their tenacity and strength was always something I marveled at.  

These images are those of a female beaver who became a companion of mine, she would follow my canoe whenever I chose to invade her pond. 

She would sit mumbling to herself as she groomed her fur. I would talk to her quietly as I surveyed the world she had built.
Climbing back into my canoe, I would paddle away as she followed in my wake. As I pulled my canoe over her large dam, I would thank her for her company and bid her farewell. 

The pond I once shared with her is now marshland; she and her family moved onto another area of the river where the food supply would sustain them through the winter. 

One day, the marshland will once again become a pond and I will pull my canoe over the rebuilt dam and make acquaintances with the resident pond builders. 

Happy Paddling. 


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