“It’s this place, isn’t it? It’s why you’re so strong,” a friend commented while we crawled through the woods of Exploits Island, hunting chanterelles.
This little resettled community in the middle of nowhere is has been the home to remarkable people; it’s a place for those with vision who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty with hard work.
Artists, craftspeople, chefs, fishermen, carpenters, merchants, and native people have grown in this place and I’m incredibly fortunate to call it home.
I grew up here on Exploits island in the summers and spent my childhood hauling logs out of the woods for firewood (the heat is a wood stove), carrying a 5 gallon bucket of water in each hand from the well (there’s no running water or electricity), lifting rocks and lumber, and walking or paddling everywhere (there are no cars). I helped Dad and Poppy build things, gathered mussels at low tide, jigged cod, split wood, built rafts out of washed up pulpwood, crawled through the forest with map and compass, skinny dipped off rocks into deep, still water, climbed trees, rowed boats and learned to move and be strong and to delight in that feeling.
And I have learned that reconnecting with that makes me stronger. And it makes my daughter strong too, as she carries and hikes and paddles and climbs.
I brought more weights down this year because sometimes it’s just fun to lift really heavy things without a plan when the day feels right. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Like this one pictured.
But mostly I did the things I usually do on Exploits because I now realize that those activities create a strength that adds to what I bring to the bar the rest of the year.
They are where it started and where it comes from and if I keep sight of that I will keep getting stronger in a way that is uniquely me.
It’s a rare gift and one that I now understand more than I ever did.
I could never give it up, but it gets bigger when shared.