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"Alone" Chapter Two
Welcome to The Fireside
Good morning and welcome as always to the Fireside and may you find peace and rest here as we look at the second chapter of the book "Alone."
It has been a whirlwind the few weeks or so travelling and packing in all there was too see and do in Arizona. Hats off to all of you who live there as I enjoyed all I could while there. Tucson is a wonderful city and the outlaying areas affording many great hikes and some gruelling countryside.
Gather around on this cool night back here in Canada where spring is finally arriving. Today was te official first day of cut-off season for me. Help yourself to coffee, hot chocolate and tea and diet coke and special cookies. Settle in and enjoy your time here. Above all know that you are loved and cared for at the Fireside. Hugs to all, stay as long as you like. Should I still find you here in the morning that is fine. Just rest and enjoy your time.
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I was accustomed to entering the complete darkness of the forest with only slight moonlight. Above was a canopy of evergreens that never seemed to end. All the trees were heavy with snow and threatening to break at anytime.
Being a kid again for a moment I kicked the closest 60-foot tree trunk and the cascade of snow that came down left me in complete obscurity. I was covered from head to toe. Looking up I could see the contrast of the dark, bear branches in comparison to the others still straining with their burden of snow.
I shook the snow off and the fur I was wearing was again rich and light in color. I was thankful for this awesome gift, which had been given to me with such humility. That is the Native way, to simply give without need of fanfare or acknowledgment, something that is hard to understand in white society.
The Taggish Cree had taught me much about their way of thinking. Nature had been their neighbor for generations; they had been entrusted with all that was around them. The Creator had truly blessed them with abundance of game; provisions; lodging; and, above all His great love, which He gave so freely. The Taggish Cree had a special gift of knowing that everything had originated with their Creator. Their willingness to share came with the trust that had been established between us.
Here a few hundred yards into the woods an entirely different world existed, just as it had for generations before me —His creation—I can feel the presence of someone far greater than me. That presence has traveled with me my entire life, even during those times when I refused to acknowledge it.
After I spent so much time with the Cree it was easier for me to understand than before. Theirs was a simple belief system, uncluttered by the man-made rules and regulations I had found in many churches over the years.
The Do's and Don'ts had bogged down the faith I once had. I came to recognize that men had created the Church, especially after I read the Bible and spent time in God’s creation—the rugged wilderness of the Yukon. Creation in my eyes is what we find around us, not manmade but created by God Himself in His greater plan. To me, the wilderness is creation at its finest, the balance of nature is both pure and very complex.
So where is God in all this? Right here beside us all, pleading to hear from us in a simple, direct way. He meets us right where we are, hurting and in pain. He wants to cry with us, laugh with us and, mostly He wants to have relationship with us.
Is it any wonder that many have turned from a relationship with God, especially when He is so misrepresented? I shudder as I think of the pain those children suffered at the hands of the clergy, here in the north and throughout the world.
At the end of the day God is still in control and He will avenge those men for what they did. For now all He wants to do is love each of His children.
I wondered what a church should be like. I thought it should be about the people—meeting their needs, praying for each other. That’s where true healing takes place. Maybe the church should be right here in the dark woods where I was standing.
There is meaning in having an intimate relationship with God. It is a safe place away from the judgment of people. Away from the rules and regulations created by Man. Right here where a man could communicate with God one-on-one, where I could hear God through the quiet and peace of the forests and mountains.
As I thought about it more and more, I could not help but feel the Taggish Cree had found the answers I was seeking. They had nature, something real to believe in and be a part of. They had a relationship with the Creator directly through His creation. I could and would never consider myself an expert of any sort on the matter but to me what I found here in the wilderness at anytime spoke to me like nothing before.
I took a moment to listen to a rustle in the distance, a different sound that set itself apart from the normal night noises. Maybe a swishing of a branch that cracked at its weight of snow.
I stood still. The only noise I heard was the sound of my breathing and the increasing pulse of my heartbeat. It was an internal warning system telling me danger might be near.
I stood for what seemed hours, looking intently into the darkness. There it was again.
Then just briefly I caught sight of movement, a dark form. At once I knew it was a moose totally unaware of my presence. He stepped into a clearing just ahead and paused in the perfect stillness of the night.
I could hear and see his breath as well. He was a massive animal and one to be respected, but I was drawn to the peace I suspected he was feeling as he slowly turned and started to dig in a large circle. He was very aggressive as grass and dirt flew into the air. The moose behaved as though he had a purpose, a reason known only to him.
I had often seen moose beds before and was always amazed at the way the ground was cleared in all directions. Now I understood, as I watched this bull clear a bed for himself. It was obvious this fellow was planning on spending the night.
It was nearly midnight and in all likelihood I would not be able to move without disturbing the lone creature. He lay down in the freshly created bed, looking around as though to inspect his work.
I reached deep within and shouted loudly, catching the animal by surprise. He bolted off in the direction his nose was pointing at the time. I laughed at the sight. That male moose was all legs in his attempts to get away from the unknown. Sleep would never be the same for him again.
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