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Audio excerpt

Paddling Over

To join me midway through the paddling and portaging, click the mp3 file on this page.







To set the scene…

People often think of the Canada’s north as a vast, wild space just waiting for us to behold in all its splendor. But the truth is, if we paid even a little bit of attention, we would see a heavily industrialized, managed expanse of sparsely populated land. This realization fills me with a combination of fear and dread, which is why I am a lame canoe-tripping buddy.

In this tale about a “wilderness” vacation, I take an ideal romantic get-away and turn it into a meditation on humanity’s disconnect from that which gives us life.

This is a story about not visiting one of Canada’s few stands of old growth forest but hearing from those giant old trees anyway, of not being in boundless wilderness, and of not recognizing the soundtrack of silenced trees until their watery ghosts wrap around our canoe and soak into my soul.

Paddling over - draft excerpt - B. Lorraine Smith
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Lake Manitou - B. Lorraine Smith's original inspiration for paddling in Northern Ontario
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