"This too shall pass"
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" "F*ck it! Let's go!"
These would probably be the phrases repeated most in my times of stress.
Draped over a small willow beside my rent is the once bright white long sleeve synthetic shirt I've worn for 75 days straight. I can almost smell the sharp sour tang of the stained and torn rag of a shirt that remained. Sand scratched at my side on the air mattress as I packed up the gear inside and a large part of me missed the idea of sleeping on it again tonight. A shower, full meal, cold beer and soft bed shall be my reward for the expedition and would be here soon enough. The sight of my canoe tied up high along the magnificent river underneath the reddening sunrise reflected warm on the water and my heart. Each day is a gift and within there are many faces to the water and the sky. To me, reaching the "end" of the river became a geographical falacy in the perpetuity of life. The river flows downstream but the sky keeps it full.
After Bonne Carre point, I passed between the rust coated fleet of barges and up to the last island on the Mississippi. The back channel of Bonne Carre Island was resplendent with squirrel, armadillo, turtles and alligator. A 15ft tall willow bent and I glanced up to see a snake falling with a splash into the mirror surface. It was a fitting moment of calm and collection amid the turmoil of the shipping channel and although I could hear the diesel engines humming away, I felt far removed. Here in this miniature wilderness among the chaos, my mind drifted to Minnesota and the grassy camps of the upper portions. I thought of how far I had come and how content I was with the final few miles of easy paddling among moored tankers along the spillway.
I had made it...here?
Yes. I was content to know that the journey was within and without, another life experience to grow upon, another region explored. Although the boat will pass on to new hands, I'm excited for the next adventure. As Dave Grohl said, "Done, done and I'm on to the next one."
See you shortly ;)