Timing is everything, I thought
as our heavily burdened canoe slowly moved up river.
I knew I’d soon leave my marriage behind,
only wondering ‘when’ was best.
Freedom and independence called to me daily.
The small electric motor hummed quietly
as we traveled through a myriad twists and turns
on our cautiously chosen path.
Waterfowl watch us warily or took flight to escape.
Solitary bears sighted us from shore and retreated.
No fish were visible in the clear water this trip—
such a change from the abundance seen in childhood,
I inwardly reflected.
“Acid rain over Time,” I said aloud,
as if quoting a scientific formula.
The canoe came up against a strong current
where, despite the motor and our paddles,
we just couldn’t get ahead.
“Like our finances,” I muttered with a chuckle.
That’s when my paddle broke in half.
We jumped into the cold, knee-deep, turbulent water
and pulled the packed canoe upstream.
Finally, we both climbed back in,
muscle-weary from the strain.
Thank goodness we have the motor, I thought.
Then, where the river joined the lake,
the little electric motor died.
“Oh well,” my husband said quietly.
“At least we’re up the creek with a paddle and a half.”
I looked anxiously toward the distant shore
still hidden from view, where we planned to camp.
The sky to the north promised rain and threatened wind.
Timing is everything, I thought.
The lake had a reputation for sudden high waves
and haunted water graves.
Like a Trickster, it was called ‘SmoothWater”.
“Let’s follow the shoreline,” I suggested.
We fought the wind and white caps all the way
determined to reach the sandy beach
where adventurers from all over the world
were often flown in, canoes and all.
At last we reached the distant shore.
The storm clouds moved away from the lake.
The wind died down.
“Timing…” I grumbled to myself.
A few minutes of rest and mosquito bites later,
my husband started to set up the tent.
“Guess I’ll make myself useful too,” I said reluctantly,
my body now exhausted.
“I’ll find pieces of wood for the fire along the beach.”
An armful and some distance later, I stopped.
Suddenly, I was overcome with a feeling of
peace and gratitude.
This is such a beautiful spot. I’m glad we’re here.
I’ll do my best to appreciate our adventure together,
quit worrying, and savour every moment.
It’s really great to be alive!  I told myself.
I turned back hurriedly with my small burden.
When I reached the welcoming campsite
a startling noise came from where I’d just been.
A moose charged out of the dense bush,
crossing the very spot where I stood minutes before.
It ran into the water, as if being chased,
then swam as fast as it could towards the far shore.
A wolf appeared soon after,
standing where both the moose and I had been.
Thwarted by its loss of prey to the lake,
the wolf silently watched the moose, sniffed the air,
then turned to stare intensely at us.
I felt the challenging energy of that stare.
Like the call of the wild, it made my heart beat faster.
Timing is everything, I thought
as the lone wolf disappeared.
February, 2000

One thought on “Timing

  1. The red letter Nature at the beginning of this poem is a link to a musical composition I created for a project I called An Alphabet For Indigo Children.
    If it doesn’t buffer quickly I hope you’ll Replay.


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