I guess I got a good story out of it; I mean how many people can say they have almost died in the wilderness? But even if I did get a great story that helped me grow a little scruff on my chin, I don’t know if I would do it again. If I did, I would have to be certain that if I died I would be content with how I left my life.
Recently this past summer on a canoe trip to Quetico, Canada, me and 15 others experienced a frightening ordeal. None of us expected such a thing to happen as we all were experienced canoers. It was on the fourth day of the two week canoe trip that we took a wrong turn in a series of rapids because of a flipped canoe. After the canoe had flipped our group was disoriented; we had no idea that we had made a mistake.
We traversed through five miles of quick rapids before making it to an open lake. Our group leader found it necessary to check the map and begin to regroup. When he went for the map, the horrific truth was discovered; the canoe that had flipped in the rapids lost the only map.
Now what?! This was our only thought. However, none of us found it appropriate to verbally communicate this with one another. Frightened, none of us knew if we would ever find out way back to the outfitters. For three of the ten days our group traveled with no idea where we were going. After the second day there was no hope of finding our way out of this maze of rivers and lakes. Everyone began to count and share their blessings.
It is funny the things that people said that they were going to miss; many of the things mentioned were simple and very insignificant. Some of these things included sitting on their back yard porch and soaking up the beautiful summer sun. Others expressed their concerns regarding leaving their loved ones so abruptly. However, what we were going to miss didn’t matter, as we all had our own regrets; for twenty minutes there was complete silence while we all lost ourselves in the beautiful sunset and our own personal thoughts.
It is only from such an experience that a person can truly appreciate everything in life and understand why attention is a necessity. The morning after finding our way back I brushed my teeth. I was more alert and more aware of what I was doing than I had been in quite a while just because I now had appreciation for being secure and alive. I remember brushing my teeth and feel that I always will remember that. From now on I will be aware of what I am doing; I promised myself this soon after this ordeal.
I believe presence of mind is a necessity. Walking from your car into a building seems to be nothing; that is because it requires no real concentration or thought. However, if thought is put into this little thing you may notice the fresh air and the chirping of the birds; it is now because of these thoughts, that instead of walking gloomily into that building, perhaps it will be with a smile.
I believe that to truly appreciate and experience life, you must always be thinking of what you are doing, and what impact it has on your life. For if a person is to live their life mechanically and go through the motions day after day simply because they no longer require thought after years of repetition, it becomes wasted time; wasted time becomes wasted years; wasted years becomes a wasted life.
It is true that saving a life is a good deed, but savoring your own is a great one. This I believe.