Journal Entry - June 3, 1999 - (Regina, Saskatchewan to
Gordon Ngock forwarded me this anonymous quote he received from an Outward Bound course:
"It is in solitude that we discover that being is more important than
having and that we are worth more than the results of our efforts. In
solitude we discover that our life is not a possession to be defended,
but a gift to be shared."
Solitude is not loneliness. Loneliness is the temporary forgetting of
love. Loneliness is ignoring the splendours of life just long enough to
believe they do not exist. While loneliness passes, solitude persists.
Solitude is a simple fact. It is just a detail and it does not matter,
unless you want it to.
For me, solitude has granted me time to rediscover Kevin Thomson. I
feel all emotions more intensely and my awareness is blossoming.
When was the last time you had some good solid solitude? Is it
important to you? Do you fear it? Do you pursue it? Do you care?
Each of us is one person. We form relationships with others that allow
us to be a certain way when we're with them. Are you the same way with
your parents as your spouse? If we're always surrounded by others, then
when are we simply and grandly "ourselves"? Solitude is the only time
that is truly possible.
Recently, I hit a spell of loneliness. A westbound Greyhound bus came
towards me flashing his lights and waving. As he passed, I noticed the
destination sign was "Vancouver" and I got weepy. I wanted to be
"home". I was cold, tired, sore and all alone with no hope of familiar
faces for many weeks. I forgot about the love I share with many special
people. I ignored the beauty, simplicity and perfection of the sights
and sounds all around me. I got hung up on what I did not have. Logic
escaped me. I was lonely. It hurt.
But I'm okay now! To experience the highs, the lows must be involved. I
see things clearly now...
The prairies are changing. The grain elevators are being removed from
towns and "better" ones are being built in more rural areas. Farming
continues to be a dynamic industry with plenty of huge challenges, not
the least of which is the current wetness here in the southern
prairies. Small towns are getting smaller or even disappearing as
people move to more urban settings or stay in town but shop elsewhere.
Prairie people love the prairies but you don't find too many of them
optimistic about the future of their way of life.
If you haven't spent time in a small prairie town, you haven't seen
their simple elegance, their ties to history and the land, their sense
of community and caring about their neighbours, the wide open spaces
that give them their sense of freedom and the down home prairie pride.
If this does not interest you, relax. If it does, you'd best get out
here soon, because the prairies are changing...
And so is the prairie weather. By gosh, it's been super hot one day and
winter conditions the next. Tailwinds for a month, now nothing but
headwinds. The ideally wide and paved shoulders lasted all the way to
Virden, Manitoba. Now it's a loose gravel beach that makes me earn each
and every kilometre. Sneaking onto the highway takes a lot of effort to
watch behind for traffic, so it's equally tiring.
It's been 10 days of travel since Regina and I've found that I don't
really need rest days every 3 days. So I'm shortening my travel days,
doing them in the morning and spending the rest of the day exploring
and relaxing. It's been sweet up until the Manitoba Beach shoulders
which turn an easy 30k day into an arduous epic-like jumble of
energy-suck. Just a detail though since I'll still make all my
deadlines. And I'm just being a weenie, since all I really need to do
is to change my attitude towards the Beach, and enjoy it for what it
is. That's my new plan...
If you ever want to follow any day to day progress, Rob has a Daily Run
Log on the fantastic website you can check out. You can even use it as
an interactive game. Let me explain...
I was sitting in Moosomin's Country Squire Inn sorting out gear and I
get a knock on the door. There's no one there, but I see a chocolate
treat at my feet. I look down the hall and see another one, then
another at the corner. I follow the trail while hearing giggling from
the corner. When I reach it, I find Owen Davis and Chris Mager from
Vancouver tittering away like schoolgirls! They had printed out the
Daily Run Log updates, flown to Winnipeg, rented a car, drove to where
they thought I'd be and started asking people if and when they'd seen
me. They found my actual wheel tracks in Wapella and closed in on me in
Moosomin. I'm certain they enjoyed the hunt just as much as the
surprise on my face and our subsequent visit for the way-too-short
evening we had together.
As I left them the next morning, a local fellow asked Chris & Owen
"Hasn't he got anything better to do with his time?" Indeed, this is
one of our societies hurdles. We seem to judge everything instead of
simply enjoying life. What good is judging someone pursuing their
dream? Certainly we'll never fully understand why they have a
particular dream, nor should we even bother to go analyzing it. Why not
just encourage them, smile and enjoy observing their pursuit? To what
purpose is judging anyone?
As I left Saskatchewan, I visited the info centre where I met a woman
who had just driven from Vancouver in 3 days. I was on day 76. When
asked how she was enjoying the trip, she rolled her eyes and said,
"The prairies are so boring, there's nothing to see." This woman found
exactly what she was looking for and I was happy for her. For myself, I
usually do not choose to find things boring. I'm enjoying the new
blooms, the birds playing in the wind, the clouds doing high speed
dances and art exhibits, the endless vistas, the light playing on the
road and the horizon ablaze in full splendour. But for some, that's
After my incredible welcome to Brandon, and my stay with the
Archambault family it will soon be time to go back to my solitude. My
journey of discovering Canada and myself. We all find exactly what we
are looking for and if we don't like what we find, all we have to do is
start looking for something else. Life is magical if you believe it to
'Til next time, keep the magic alive...
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