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Wednesday
Oct012014

You have to be sly with the river

Joe Vermillion was a Chipewyan Indian I met on the Peace River about twelve years ago. I was engaged, then, in the seemingly impossible task of paddling against the 8mph current of that river- which was over a 1000 miles long. Joe said we could do it, but we had to be sly with the river. We had to use the back channels, the places near the bank where the current was slack, the reverse currents you get behind obstructions; we had to tow the boat when the bank was clear, we had to sail when there was a good tailwind. If we tried to tough it out, battle headlong into the current like heroes we’d last about a week. I saw that when I started. We had to be sly with the river.

I was thinking today it is the best advice for any adventure. And maybe for life, especially for long drawn out and difficult tasks. Use every advantage, every place where the current reverses for whatever reason. Even when things are against you, when you’re battling against everything you can make progress, bit by bit, looking for the easiest route, the openings. You have to be sly with the river.

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