Blustery and chilly and tired but still surrounded by water and huge trees, so still happy.
I’m sitting beside a massive cedar that must be at least 800 years old, its base as wide as my car. Though it’s a blustery day and I feel creaky and depleted, I am so happy to be here (and particularly happy to get to lie alone in moss below giants away from the group and the wind).
I was sad to leave Windy Bay this morning, with the view out my tent window so captivating.
But I was motivated by the glassy water we dipped our paddles into as we left. The chant “OM NAMAYA” appeared in my mind and continued on repeat all morning. When I returned, I looked up the meaning, as it was a mantra I hadn’t heard before. Here’s a translation I found:
Nama Sivaya calls forth the oneness of all creation and of the elements. Each syllable balances one of the five elements.
- “Na” earth
- “Ma” water
- “Si” fire
- “Va” Prahnic air
- “Ya” sky
So Om NaMaYa balances earth, water and sky. Quite fitting for paddling glassy water reflecting the sky, surrounded by tree-covered islands. Good one, Universe, dropping that one into my head.
We paddle for 2.5 hours as the wind picks up, passing a bear fishing on the beach and tons of birds.
We land in a break between islands for a sunny lunch on a place we deem “nap beach”. I lay beneath a massive cedar to nap; everyone else lays on the beach soaking up the sunshine. We wait for the high tide so we can paddle straight out of the inlet instead of carrying our boats in like we did at low tide. A welcome break.
Landing on our camping beach in the afternoon, we remove our PFDs (life jackets) and spray skirts, unload everything from our boats, carry boats to the trees. Then the guides make a fire and set up food for the bear hang, and and we set up our tents. This consistency adds structure to our days.
I put my tent up beside a giant cedar (of course). A crow makes water droplet sounds above me, trying to lure me away from whatever treasures I have hidden. Animals are so smart.
We have a 2 hour break before dinner, and I lounge happily away from the bugs in my tent. It is such a gift to have so much time to recharge; I feel my nervous system strengthening, repairing, rejuvinating as we move through a schedule that provides so much rest.
Paddling itself is so meditative and revitalizing for me, and the relaxed early mornings, indulgent lunches, and early bedtimes make my body feel healthy and strong.
I meditate before breakfast most days, pack my things in a relaxed mood, sing, chant mantras in my head while we paddle, swap nature facts with Amy (a process which always makes me feel so awe-struck by nature that I am overcome with gratitude to be on this magical planet), meditatively chop veggies for dinner, lay in moss on every break.
Dinner tonight is delicious “gato gato”, warm lime and peanut sauce salad with quinoa that our friend adventurously made before trying it herself. Complete success.
We raise the bearhang, containing all our food, toiletries and smelly items (more for mice than bears), then fall happily into bed.