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Wilderness Therapy

With summer almost here I had begun to sense the need for revitalization to erase the moodiness that was occurring too often; to evade current reality that depresses my spirit; spend some time in the wilderness, meditating on my  life.   

Twelve hours after leaving Atlanta the bush pilot lowered the Cessna down through swirling clouds into the Severn River canyon. The surface appears calm from a few hundred feet up. Scanning the current for boulders he picks a spot and sets the floatplane down. Scudding to a stop he forces the pontoons onto a sandbar then cuts the engine. I unlashed the canoe and get my supplies. I watch the floatplane idle to mid-stream. He revs the engine, turns into the wind and roars down the river, giving me a thumbs-up as the plane lifts out of the gorge. My umbilical cord is severed.  My recovery has begun.

After one week the pilot will return to a designated site and pick me up. 

I find driftwood and get prepared for sleep. I chew a nugget of chocolate. By candlelight I begin editing a manuscript.

Horizons fade as night creeps in. I hear the cry of an Osprey and I see nature in motion as the bird swoops to capture a fish. I watch the Aurora Borealis fire streamers of color across the cobalt sky.

Far above, in the lingering twilight, Canadian snow geese, in a fragmented formation, bending like gossamer, weaving, undulating with the vagaries of lofty winds, wend their way to a mysterious destination. 

Echoing down the river I hear wolves on a hunt. . A snow owl ghosts low between me and the moon. A breeze whispers from the tamaracks and teases my beard. A flight of ducks descends onto the water squabbling as the sun sets the western sky ablaze.

The night sky shimmers like jewels, from horizon to horizon, and out to infinity, displaying celestial splendor created by the Master Painter. Fire flower petals flutter from above and float on the surface like miniature yachts in a regatta. I crawl into my tent. I watch curious eyes, ovals reflecting from embers in my campfire. I listen to magical melodies of the night.

I rise with the sun. The eyes from the night are gone. A black bear ambles from a thicket followed by cubs. She growls a warning then disappears back in the tamarack.  A fox vixen yaps threateningly for my intrusion into her domain. The river gurgles. I sense a trophy. Coffee gets my blood flowing and I head for the river.

I cast in the rapids. A strike is instantaneous. I see a flash of fire in the depths. A Muskie fights like fury. On my next cast I hook a brook trout. Under a flume I catch a walleye for dinner.  I pick wild raspberries. Dinner will be a feast, loaded with isolation atmosphere.

Peace surrounds me.  I spot a moose with her calf frolicking in a stream. I see an Eagle riding thermals. Elk graze silently. An owl screeches. I lie back on my knapsack and begin to re-visit my life.  

Then much too soon the miracle is over.

I dip water from the river and obliterate all evidence that I was there. I hear the drone of a plane. The bush pilot has returned. I lash my canoe onto the pontoon and climb    aboard. Arriving in Winnipeg I call my wife. I tell her that she will meet a revitalized husband. 

I schedule next year’s isolation therapy session. My fire has been rekindled. 

York is a WW II navy veteran and retired President of York Furs in Buckhead. You can contact him by email at: