When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Wendell Berry From Collected Poems (North Point Press), � 1985.
Reprinted here with the kind permission of Wendell Berry.
Through tattered clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks;
Arm it in rags, a pygmy's straw does pierce it.
- William Shakespeare, King Lear (King Lear at IV, vi)
The bush pilot asked the Indian how long it took him to reach his trapping cabin by canoe. "Four days" was the Indian's reply.
The pilot told the Indian it would take only an hour by pontoon plane. "Why?" remarked the Indian.
18 pages of photographs and sagas of rivertrips in the Okefenokee Swamp,
Suwanee River, Apalachee River, Current River, St. Mary's River, Ogeechee River,
Ocmulgee River, Oconee River, Altamaha River, Broad River, Shenandoah River
Flint River and Tugaloo Lake. (approx. 220 pictures)
(Click on the picture.)
A Japanese company and an American company decided to have a canoe race
on the Missouri River.
Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance
before the race.
On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.
Afterward, the American team became very discouraged and depressed.
The American management decided the reason for the crushing defeat had to
be found. A Management Team made up of senior management was formed to
investigate and recommend appropriate action.
Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people paddling and 1 person
steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and one person
paddling. (The huge 35 to 40 foot canot du ma�tre normally carried fourteen.)
So American management hired a consulting company and paid them an
incredible amount of money. They advised that too many people were
steering the canoe, while not enough people were paddling.
To prevent losing to the Japanese again next year, the American team's
management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors,
3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering
manager. They also implemented a new performance system that would give
the 1 person paddling the canoe greater incentive to work harder.
It was called the "Paddling Team Quality First Program," with meetings,
dinners and free pens for the paddler. Even new paddles and medical
benefit incentives were promised for a winner. We must give the paddler
the empowerment and enrichments through this quality program.
The next year the Japanese won by two miles.
Humiliated, the American management laid off the paddler for poor
performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and
canceled all capital investments for new equipment.
The money saved was distributed to the senior executives as bonuses.
The true significance of Sacajawea's involvement in the Lewis & Clark expedition is that it was the first documented trip in history where men asked a woman for directions and followed them, allowing them to arrive at their destination.
If a man can pack a heavy load across a portage, if he can do whatever he has to do without complaint and with good humor, it makes little difference what his background has been. And if he can somehow keep alive a spark of adventure and romance as the old time voyageurs seem to have done, then any expedition becomes more than a journey through wild country. It becomes a shining challenge and an adventure of the spirit. - Sigurd Olson, The Lonely Land
Chores are easier if forethought is given to them and they are looked upon as little pleasures to perform instead of inconveniences that steal time and try the patience. -
Dick Proenneke, One Man's Wilderness
"... I also enjoy canoeing, and I suppose you will smile when I say that I especially like it on moonlight nights. I cannot, it is true, see the moon climb up the sky behind the pines and steal softly across the heavens,
making a shining path for us to follow; but I know she is there, and as I lie back among the pillows and put my hand in the water, I fancy that I feel the shimmer of her garments as she passes. Sometimes a daring little fish
slips between my fingers, and often a pond-lily presses shyly against my hand.
Frequently, as we emerge from the shelter of a cove or inlet, I am suddenly conscious of the spaciousness of the air about me. A luminous warmth seems to enfold me. Whether it comes from the trees which have been heated
by the sun, or from the water, I can never discover...It is like the kiss of warm lips on my face."
From "The Story Of My Life", by Helen Keller; Airmont Publishing Co., Inc., New York, NY
my young friend, there is nothing
half so much worth doing as simply messing
about in boats (said the water rat solemnly)
he went on dreamily: messing-about-in-boats; messing ... about in
or with boats ...
In or out of 'em,
it doesn't matter.
Nothing seems to really matter,
that's the charm of it.
Whether you get away, or whether you don't;
whether you arrive at your destination
or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether
you never get anywhere at all,
you're always busy, and
you never do anything in particular;
and when you've done it
there's always something else
to do ..."
The Wind in the Willows.
The American businessman was at the pier of a small South Pacific Island village when an island fisherman docked his small canoe. The fisherman had a dorrado and several large grouper in the canoe. The American complimented the Islander on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Islander replied, "Only a little while." The American then asked why didn't he stay out longer and catch more fish? The Islander said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs. The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?" The fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a late afternoon nap with my wife, Helia, stroll into the village each evening where I sip rum and play guitar with my friends, I have a full and busy life."
The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution.
You would need to leave this small fishing village and move to
Australia, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your
The South Seas fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?" To which the American replied, "15-20 years."
"But what then?"
The American laughed and said that's the best part. "When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."
"Millions, really? Then what?"
The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a late afternoon nap with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings here you could sip rum and play your guitar with your friends."