A Surreal Image From My Wilderness Canoe Trip In Northern Maine

by George Denny

 Moose in the mist
    One very early morning about 5:00 am, I began canoeing along the fog bound shoreline trying to keep my bearings. Out of the mist a sound exploded in a rush of splashing water that echoed in the dewy shroud that seemed to open on cue and gave me this glimpse of a mother moose and her calf as they left the waters edge. They slowly disappeared into the marshy reeds leading into a  wind  twisted stand of  skeleton trees that had long ago lost their fight to live in such a harsh environment.

    Just then, off in the distance came the eerie cry of the Northern Loon, a sound you will never forget, a sound that epitomizes wilderness, and loneliness. But even though lonely, cold and wet, I  felt  an inner warmth and freedom and peace in this place that few ever experience. 

    Slowly I dipped the paddle into the water and guided  my canoe out toward the middle of the lake, becoming engulfed in the haze until only the gentle sswooshhh of the paddle slicing through the water could faintly be heard for a moment or two. 

    For the next seven hours, I headed out over the water as the sun burned off the fog and turned the sky into a crimson gold, then, later azure blue crept up from the horizon and spread over the lake and the far away mountains into a pallet of colors and shades that cannot be described. 

    Later that night, as I lie on the ground sipping a cup of hot coffee, gazing into the heavens at the northern lights, I wished I could stay here forever. Galaxies of stars never seen though the polluted skies of Ohio glistened before me, if ever one becomes aghast at the immenseness of our universe, this was the moment for it.  I  put my head down on the sleeping bag, and after a time drifted off with the vision of eternity above me. 

    Friends think I'm nuts for going alone into the wilderness,  maybe, reckless, maybe, foolish , maybe, yes, I guess they are right.
    But,-------I'll be going again soon, hopefully.  Even if I never make it back to the "civilized" world,  well, so be it!

George A. Denny

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