For the beauty of the hour
Of the day and of the night
Hill and vale
And tree and flower
Sun and moon and stars of light
Lord of all to thee we raise
This our joyful hymn of praise
(“For the Beauty of the Earth, United Methodist Hymnal, page 92)
Two of my most cherished members of my teenage years were two trips to Canada with Explorer Scouts. The first trip we drove from Houston to Ely Minnesota. In Ely we packed very large backpacks with food, community camping gear, and personal gear and loaded up on Wilderness Wings Airways. Yes, it was a real airplane service and it was my first time to fly. The planes were on pontoons and the canoes were tied to the pontoons on the plane. We flew 110 miles into Quetico Prudential Park and canoed back to the United States. The paddling part of the trip took about two weeks or so I remember.
My second trip was two years later. This time, instead of flying from Ely we crossed the border at International Falls and made our way around to the north side of the park. We canoed for about a week and a half. and then drove back home.
My best friend the first trip said the thing he remembered most about that trip was always being hungry. I don’t remember that. What I remember, was it rained, a lot.
The second trip the thing I remember most was wild Canadian Blue Jays landing on our fingers and eating things (probably things they shouldn’t have been eating, out of our hands.
We were probably about a week into the first trip and we stopped for part of the day, I assume to eat lunch but despite the rain, we stayed for longer than normal. I later learned this tiny little lake had been a stop along the trip for many years. Because my only other trip it wasn’t on the itinerary, I never saw this lake again. Despite the rain, it was one of the prettiest places I have ever seen. Though it was small, it seems obvious to me that God put in some overtime on that one.
According to the Quetico maps, the lake had no name. In the limited maps I could find on the internet that were readable, I can’t find the little lake now. What I do remember is, we named the lake. It wasn’t anything official. We did talk about submitting our name to Canadian authorities and see if we could actually name the lake, but nothing ever came of it. It was kind of typical of a bunch of teenage boys. We talked about it all the way home and none of us did more than talk.
We did, for the rest of the time I was with the Explorer Post refer to it as, “Lake Begonia.” I am not sure why, I just know we did. I also don’t know that the picture above is from Lake Begonia or not, my guess would be not. What I do remember is a place of great beauty, even in the rain, sitting with a soggy lunch on this little lake just off of a more main waterway.
I do know the picture above came came from Quetico. And as with anywhere in the park, it is beautiful in its own right. And where, footprints should be all we leave behind, the reality is, we tend to do more damage than that. Our neighbors to the North are better at that than we. And while that lake above may not be Begonia, there is little doubt in my mind that she is as pretty today as she was when I was there almost 40 years ago.
Those places that touch your heart, will always have a place in your soul.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved
Pondering with DrB
Scenes of Beauty and Interest