Flash Back Fridays


In Ontario schools these days, “character education” is one of our “big ideas” (love those buss terms: and “Environment” is something you look up on the Internet). I can just see JB flipping through the curriculum binder and laughing: “what are ya, a bunch of wimps?” That’s what he’d say, and rightfully so.

Strathcona Poem

You build character getting yourself – and others- up Elk Horn, King’s Peak, Auger Point, Flower Ridge

Y ou build character cooking for a hoard of ravenous outdoor enthusiasts
You build character sitting at a plank desk in the eco-cabin, with a giant wolfspider on the loose, and your last candle puddling out

You build character digesting Logan Bread
You build character running for miles along a mountain road, wary ofbears, Raven somersaulting overhead

You build character paddling alone down the lake because you like your own quite company

once in awhile
You build character listening to Tony singing the Fishin’ Blues, or Stevie, The Streets ofLondon

You build character dancing in the Whale Room
You build character paddling against a headwind with a year old refusnik dead weight in your bow

You build character trying to start a fire in the rain; at least you have your pitch stick
You build character when you’ve got somebody like JB telling you, “Ifyou’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning anything!”

You Build character doing your fist roll in a kayak, your first belay down a rock face, your first trip through the ropes, your first solo down the Gold

You build character camping under a tarp, or a canoe, or the sky full of stars
You build character paddling with the people you work with, play with, love, and laugh with it’s midnight, the sea is quicksilver bright, and in a day or two you’ll reach Escalante

You build character when people like Jim and Myrna Boulding take you into their vision and challenge you to live your biggest and your best- and you accept that challenge- and try –for the rest of your life- it’s a tall order- to meet that challenge

You build character watching Eagle circle four times over Friendly Cove

Walking on a log

Walking on a log

Strathcona was a special place for me, the proverbial right place at the right time. I have fond memories.

Cliff works as an addictions/ mental health counselor. I teach High School English when I get a job. We keep a large organic garden, and live in Canadian Shield about an hour from Kingston as wild as one can get in southern Ontario (lots of coyotes, deer, and more frequent/recent sightings of bear, and the very rare- rumored cougar). We don’t kayak or canoe or ski or hike nearly enough, but we have fought some local environmental battles, and do trail maintenance on our own land, and in the nearby provincial park.