Monday, 23 July 2007

Sharing Opposite Ends Of A Canoe

Sharing Opposite Ends of A Canoe

"Canoes are simply too small to accommodate clashing personalities....Try to be tolerant of others' opinions, but remember that once on the water you're a captive audience."

Jerry Dennis, From a Wooden Canoe
I don’t recall our first meeting but it had to be during some science class at The University Of Western Ontario. Captivated by the discipline of microbiology Brian and I found ourselves taking many parallel courses. Somewhere between bacterial meningitis and viral hepatitis it became apparent that we shared a common love of the great outdoors and a desire to explore the less populated reaches of our country. Towards that end we simultaneously began testing both the waters of our new friendship as well as the seemingly ageless waters flowing as Ontario’s northern rivers.

Over the years Brian and I canoed numerous rivers and logged countless miles in the exploration of our province. We marvelled at nature’s wonders as we retraced the paths of early explorers and relived history. We basked in the sun and sat out days stormbound. We learned about ourselves and each other. Most of all we enjoyed our youth as we celebrated life…..

Regretfully, much like the river itself, time quickly flows by and can neither be grasped nor held for any appreciable length of time - only memories remain in it’s wake.
Physical distance, responsibilities of married life and the pursuit of careers should not have presented themselves as insurmountable obstacles to our excursions but in the end we somehow did find ourselves on different tributaries on that very same river of life. Where once our very lives depended on each other, now we have lost touch - something I truly regret.

Brian has become a very successful doctor and professor specializing in internal medicine with an interest in clinical epidemiology and gastroenterology. He leads a research team in clinical trials of new and evolving treatments. Now and then I catch a glimpse of him on the news or some television interview. Dressed in a nattily tailored suit and tie, I cannot help but recall the two of us hauling our canoe through knee-deep muddy portages or clambering over rocks and boulders as we swatted mosquitoes in pursuit of our next campsite.

Thanks for the memories Brian, it ended far too soon……….

"Travel only with thy equals or thy betters, if there are none, travel alone."
The Dhammapada

“Great care is required when choosing the two people most closest to you - your wife, and your canoeing partner"
Unknown Woodsman

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