By Hannah Smith and Dom Brennan
We have just completed our eleven-day expedition, traveling the Adirondacks with a paddle, a stove, and a set of fourteen smiles. We canoed north from Eighth Lake to Lake Massawepie, a place we will call home for the next three months, a yurt village otherwise known as Arcadia.
Although our expedition doesn’t resemble the typical day at home, school, or even a study abroad experience, there are a few words that bind these disparate endeavors together—journey, experience, and movement.
Regardless of our job descriptions or life choices, we are constantly in motion. This was very clear during our expedition. Whether it was changing campsites each night or paddling two hours earlier to beat the wind, our experiences out in the wilderness were dynamic. In their busy-ness they were not unlike the typical workday: business and motion follow all of us in morning traffic to office or school.
As we gradually became comfortable with our morning routines, starting our stoves, taking down the tent, and packing up the pickle barrels where we stored all our food and clothing and supplies, we began to notice something pretty important. Something worth stopping for.
The sunrise. The morning mist. The loon call. Whether we’re at work or on an extended outing like this one, life is busy, chaotic, and filled with things to distract us and propel us forward at a dizzying pace. However, there are a few powerful, simple ways to slow down. For us, it was just looking at the sunrise while boiling water for hot drinks or oats or listening to the birdcalls while steam rose off the water, telling us it would be a beautiful day.
In the city plenty of people wake up at 5 AM to commute, running the minute their feet touch the ground. We invite our readers who are up early to take a moment to welcome the new day; whether you’re still grinding coffee beans or already stuck in traffic, paying attention to the day as it unfolds is well worth it.
Today or tomorrow, take a step back, look at the sky, breathe; and realize whether your life resides in a blue plastic pickle barrel or a home with faucets and central air, we are but one small component in a grand and mysterious story and the sunrise can give us all a powerful perspective on that tale. As Mary Oliver writes in in her poem, “When I am Among the Trees,” “never hurry through the world/but walk slowly, and bow often.”