Leading a canoe trip in Autumn for a group of high school students, we came across this interesting lake that we had learned about. We stopped on the shores for a lunch break and a good rest in the shade of the tall trees...
The sun filtered through the multi coloured leaves of fall. The trail crackled with each step, my feet were lost under a carpet of yellow leaves. A stream engulfed by cedars reminded me of pictures of rain forests in distant lands. I stopped and looked up the stream, the cool vapour filled the air and traveled down into the marsh below. This mixture of nature created a dynamic picture of the diversity and richness of our world. The warm air parted my hair, I felt like I was being greeted by the land itself.
I meet my group of 11 students from Parkdale Collegiate. They have loaded their boats and are thinking about lunch. We paddle to a clearing across the lake. But this is no ordinary lake. As our paddles stroke the smooth water we silently glide across a body of water that is rich in experience. Oh! if a lake could talk we would hear sighs of despair and laughter of joy, but it is quiet now, a kind of peace engulfs us.
Crackers, peanut butter and jam. It is early afternoon and only one portage to go. We do not feel a rush, our group has developed a common understanding that it is not arriving that is important but what we learn on the way. Finding a spot beneath the towering Pines we close our eyes and enjoy the October sun, the Indian summer.
Today we let the lake teach us about our earth and our responsibility for it...
My name is Plastic Lake I have suffered a great deal in my life but today I want to celebrate with you. You see, for many years the raindrops falling into me were very acidic. It became so bad that plants could not live and the little organisms disappeared. Soon I was a dead lake. A group of people from all over the world began studying me, grids and markers, samples, reports, recommendations... the rain started to change. It was cleaner, life began again. I want to hold on to this life but I need your help, I am worried about other lakes and trees, the air. I need you, the young people have to learn to live in harmony with the earth. Take a pine cone from my shores and plant it in a special place. Watch it grow and cherish the miracle. A relationship will grow with that tree, you will want to protect it and all that it represents. When one day that tree is tall and strong you will be old and the world will be a better place because the youth of today are learning the way. Do not forget the lessons, live each day as if it were your last and at the end you should be able to say that you did as much as you possibly could. I bid you farewell.
We talked, everyone saying what they could do for the environment. This group representing diverse cultures now had a common bond, a thread connecting them to each other and to the land itself. The portage awaited. As we slowly walked away from this lake we heard the silence of the forest, our senses were more open; We had heard the land, we would not forget.