Great Outdoors by James Murray. (File photo)

Great Outdoors by James Murray. (File photo)

Column: White Lake provides welcome relief from other present day realities

The Great Outdoors/James Murray

Who could have ever predicted the past year, and what does this coming year have in store for us?

All I know is that we live in a different world, one where we have to worry and cling to hope more than ever before, not to mention social distance and self-isolate.

I can’t even watch the news on television anymore.

We can be thankful that we live here in the Shuswap and not in so many other places around the world. Even with the new vaccines coming out I can’t help but feel things are going to get worse before they get better.

So it was with these thoughts in mind that the other day I decided to take a ride out to White Lake. When I got there, I sat down on a rock near the water’s edge and took in a great big breath of fresh air. It felt good. Somehow the air out at a lake is different than anywhere else. It’s more refreshing, more invigorating, more scented with all the wonders of nature and more alive with promise. I suppose a mountain climber would say the same about the air at the top of a mountain, and a sailor about the ocean spray. But for me it’s out at the lake – pretty well any lake.

I continued to breath in the cool, crisp winter air and sat there listening to all the silence. It was like music swirling around me. I shut my eyes and imagined I was somewhere far away and long ago. I let the silence wash over me like waves out on the ocean. It made me think of the John Masefield poem, I Must Go Down To The Sea Again. Maybe I’ll write a poem and call it: I Must Go Out To The Lake Again.

Read more: Column: A puzzle, wrapped in a box, inside a tradition

Read more: Column: Looking forward to a little self-isolating at the lake

The sound of a songbird singing and twittering away among the reeds entered into my silence. For a brief moment, I thought if I opened my eyes it might be spring and the grass and trees would be green, and all the promise and potential of the new year would begin to unfold in front of me. Deep down inside I knew it was only the first week of January and we still had another three long months of cold and snow ahead of us. But I held on tightly to my hope. I sat there for the longest time with my eyes shut, enjoying my imaginary coming of spring.

When I finally did open my eyes, things actually did feel a bit better – in spite of the cold and snow. Things can only get better I thought to myself, and besides, spring isn’t really all that far off. I also knew I was only kidding myself, but like I said, it made me feel better – at least for a little while.

Looking back, I hardly went fishing at all last year. We were asked not to travel and to avoid contact with people outside of our immediate social bubble. I know I missed out on two sturgeon fishing trips to the Lower Mainland.

Maybe when spring does come, I’ll head on up to the lake and rent a cabin for a week or two. I can cook and read and do as little as humanly possible except cast my line to eagerly awaiting fish. I can’t think of a better way to social distance and self-isolate.

I washed my hands of politics many years ago, and it does seem to me that over the past year especially, the line between faith and reason has become somewhat blurred. So it is a good thing that we still have hope to cling to – and I can only hope that this coming year is better than the last.

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