Alone Not Lonely
Late yesterday afternoon, the shore team found me much farther along than expected. Last seen, I was bent head-down, grinding uphill measuring progress not in miles but meters the work made harder by the switchbacking, shoulderless road.
In sailing terms, I had exceeded my anticipated day’s run. And arriving, of course, is not the end of the day, but the beginning of the next. I must set up camp, drink, eat, and look after my hands and feet in preparation for tomorrow.
After all was settled, Leah and still needed to work through some IT issues with the satellite tracker, website, and social media (knock on wood, scratch a stay and turn three times now resolved). Rather unexpectedly, she looked right at me and said ‘ What do you think about for six hours when you’re dragging the canoe down the road getting brushed by semis, snowed on, and sweating?’
Surprising even myself, the answer was immediate.
‘Alone but never lonely.’
I am flooded with the memories of a thousand kindnesses shown to me by complete strangers. By the well-wishes, and widening eyes of children who struggle to lift a pack or gaze at an impossibly long line on a map. And then there is the undying love of family and the sheer, immense privilege of calling Canada home.
I cannot possibly do justice to all, but here are a few.
My wife, Nani, my children, Robbie, Kris, and Alex (Kathryn absent but hard at work at College).
My sister Leah, the unstoppable force. The superb athlete and utterly unflappable Mark Kandal whose example has seen me through some very dark moments.
Long moments alone, stripped of the constant inevitable noise of the proverbial daily grind, I find myself travelling with the light of a thousand souls. It is their strength that lifts me up and carries me over the next rise.
I am alone, but never lonely.