We stood semi-paralyzed watching the bear only a few meters away. Both of us were on the verge of pushing away from the dock to watch the bear peruse our goods. As it glanced towards us in somewhat of a contemplative manner it merely swayed its head back to the earth and meandered onwards. Relief riffled through me as our undesired company made it welcomingly clear we were uninteresting hosts on our humble dock. We stood there and watched the bear stroll up to a log about 20 meters away and effortlessly flip it over to start eating what I assumed were insects. I’m sure after all these cliffhangers you're just waiting for something catastrophic to occur and I feel as though it would be a disservice not to write about one. With that being said, I think this might be one of those stories that ends exceptionally well.
While we watched the bear, the sun still rising, calm ripples in the water and the looming mountains I couldn’t help feel connected to our Creator. Not only were we safe, comfortable and in awe of the view but to direct the admiration and thankfulness to our divine Creator is something I think people from a strict materialist view miss out on. Our ability to acknowledge creativity is something I find fascinating and of course, sceptics could simply say creativity is a human assigned attribute yet I’m doubtful. The scope of what people find beautiful seems so diverse that if it were just humanly assigned there should be something that is undeniably the most creative object in existence and testable by science. My desire with each trip is to frame up images that enable people to enter into the awareness of something greater than the material and recognise how they feel when viewing the photo. Reflecting on the significance of things outside of the material world is something our modernist minds desire to remove and alternatively rely solely on soulless, scientific systems.
Patiently, we waited for the light to brush along the treetops of Spirit Island but the angle and clouds were in opposition to our aesthetic yearnings. The final image we made was a panoramic from the dock where arching clouds bridged the gap between mountains. It was the perfect scene to conclude with and begin our arduous paddle back. Exhausted, we monotonously moved through the water with each stroke feeling like we were still stationary. The benefit of starting at night is you couldn't see how slowly you were moving. At one point we saw a rock on top of a mountain and used that as a marker but it wasn't until an hour or more we finally passed it. Each time we looked up that dang ominous rock seemed to taunt us with its' motionless form. Three or four hours passed when we finally reached the shore where we kicked off from 8 hours earlier. Once again thankfulness flooded my body as I stepped onto solid ground, knowing my lungs wouldn't be flooded due to capsizing and that we had just embraced the mercy and majesty presented to us in nature.
This trip happened a little while ago and only now did I feel like I was removed enough to be able to sufficiently write about it. Retelling stories like this is part of completing the photographic narrative that I enjoy sharing so much with all of you. I'd love to hear your comments, see some of your favourite images from the series or even hear about your wild experiences. Thank you for reading and come back next time to find out where we headed next!