Hey Bert!You did it. You actually, really, truly did it.Let that sink in for just a second. The enormity of it. The sheer, unadulterated, mind-numbing enormity of it. The portaging. The paddling. The inhuman suffering piled upon the fatigue piled upon the cold and wet, piled upon the uncertainty, piled upon the never ending stress. And yet, and yet more than anything else, the joy. The exquisite, breathtaking joy of being physically and spiritually so deeply connected to the land, lakes, and rivers. The numbing beauty of those thin places where you can almost see the hand of God pass over the water, or brush the clouds, or move a blade of grass.Think on how your journey has inspired and motivated and touched and moved a thousand other souls. How something in your journey has resonated with a thousand complete strangers. Think of the lives you have changed simply because you chose to turn your vision into reality. To push, persist, persevere, and overcome to finally make it so.Think on the footsteps of those you chose to follow. On how their lives, lived so long ago, inspired and informed your own. And through you, their footsteps, long overgrown and mostly forgotten, have been discovered anew. You did that simply by choosing to walk in their shadow, to discover, no matter what, something of their lives and loves and hardships. And to pay it forward.And how have you changed? Are you the same person who left? How could you possibly remain unchanged? Yet, you are very much the same man who left. More introspective, more humane, wiser. More in-tune with your self and the person whom you aspire to become. A better Bert, but Bert none the less.Pause, please. Do not let that part of you that is constantly seeking what is hardest rule your life. Hard comes inevitably and need not be sought out. Everyday is an adventure, a giftmeant to be celebrated not suffered even if suffering is your current lot. There is no need to turn them into an ordeal. There has never been a need to prove yourself to yourself in God’s eyes.Just because you’re always asked what’s next doesn’t mean you have to answer let alone have a next. Why must there always be a what’s next anyway even before the present next is not yet past? Give yourself permission and the grace to answer the question with a shrug of the shoulders and an ‘I don’t know’. It is not a contest. Whatever comes next can neither be forced nor constrained. It will sure enough announce itself.You did it. Celebrate this moment and all the moments that led up to it. They are fleeting and meant to be precious as surely as tomorrow makes no promises and the past only memories.You did it. You did it only because you had the courage to try long before you had the belief you could.Tomorrow will be a better day if and only if you have the courage to try and make it so. Is that not the next you truly seek?Your friend,Bert‘Execution is the chariot of genius.’William Blake: 19th Century English poet and artist.