Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Tufa is Now

Dearest Readers,

For the last six summers my father has come up to the Yukon to visit me and together with an old friend of his (and one of his own prodigy) we have paddled one of the many splendid rivers in this Territory.

One year, we paddled the Coal, a challenging river in a secluded part of the Yukon wild; gorgeous mountains, rocky canyons, lush green.

On one stretch of the Coal you will find yourself in the Coal River Springs Territorial Park. If you then bushwhack into the wall of trees beyond a certain stretch of the riverbank you will discover the tufa, a natural phenomena of terraced limestone created by cool springs.

Now, as I mentioned, this is a remote wilderness area. There are no park wardens or guides. No signs. Finding the tufa is about guessing. My dad's friend had a vague idea of where they were, having been to see them years before, but other than his distant memory we were totally winging it.

In order to get to the section of bush where the tufa might be, we had to line the boats upstream. This involved walking along a rocky shore and hauling the boats against the current. My father and I had inappropriate footwear. We were not having fun.

Next, we had to scour through mosquito-thick bush and swampy underfoot. Could they be over there? No. How about here? Uh-uh. You get the idea. No map, no directions, no fun.

I was, by this point, extremely irritable. "This f&%#ing tufa better be worth it," I said to myself.

But what if it wasn't? What if this whole deal was going to be nothing but a big ol' disappointment? What if the tufa sucked?

In that moment I knew I had to change my tune. Because if the tufa weren't worth it I was going to be really peed off. It would all have been for naught and I would be in a bad mood for the next five days.

I realized then that I was actually living out that old cliché that says, "It's the journey not the destination." It wasn't about getting to the tufa at all. It was about being where I was while getting to the tufa.

After collectively almost giving up more than a few times we heard a shout from deep within the forest. Someone had found the springs.

We explored the area, fragile and beautiful, like a forgotten paradise. We filled our containers and drank the mineral-rich water running down from the hills. We marveled at the clear pools of turquoise and the shelves of coral-like limestone.

The tufa were worth it.

But if they hadn't been worth it? It would not have mattered. Because I shifted my thinking and made the journey the destination.

Whenever I find myself trying to get somewhere, to the end of something, be it a job or a place or a time, I remember the tufa.

And I remind myself: "The tufa is now."

Inspiring Message of the Day: Can I be in my life today? Am I able to let go of what is to come and be here now? I will practice staying in today by remembering that my life is only ever happening right now.

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