We’ll go with the good first, else you might not read down to it.
Season sixteen came and went, like so many events in our lives that we plan for, dream about, relish in the moment. Then, like a whisper, they’re over and gone. ‘All summer long’ sounds like a good hunk of time, twelve weeks or so, plenty of days to enjoy warm winds, laughter and outdoor pleasures. But every first evening in camp, at least for the past few years, Kev, Frances, Judy, the boys and I sit on the back porch and remind each other that “before you know it, the boats will be hauled a-shore, the windows will be boarded up, and the season gone.” Season sixteen flew by for us, ‘the crew’. But it was sweet as ever.
I truly hope that our guests don’t feel their experience in camp moves at that same quick pace. I wish for them all a drawn-out, lingering string of wilderness days filled with the kinds of adventure and grace that invade all their senses and clear their minds’ clutter;
evenings celebrating with kindred spirits;
alone times with thoughts and skills.
warm conversations and catching up;
and common bonds.
As noted earlier, 2013’s weather tested us all. Guests hunkered down in warm, water-proof gear, their backs to the bitter winds. It rained an awful lot and the river beds were overflowing. The cabin stoves glowed all summer and Kev burned more firewood than in any three previous seasons combined. Guides’ skills and stamina was consistently tested. (They passed brilliantly). And our pilot, Gilles, performed miracles.
But rare was the day when we didn’t fish, even when temps dropped below freezing the the sky belched snow.
I’ll save the ‘big fish’ glory shots for later, because the adventure they brilliantly represent is truly only a fraction of the TRL experience. I know, I know, with out the fish, no one would come. But there is so much more to be enjoyed in our world, in our secluded corner of Labrador.
And now the bad. Well, sad really. But happy, too.
Kev and Frances Barry announced on the last day of camp that next season, 2014, would be their last year with Three Rivers Lodge. They’re retiring. They have recently moved their home from Wabush back to their childhood community in Newfoundland, back to family and friends.
Now I could get despondent, slump over in a chair or kick the dog. Think ‘woe is me’ thoughts, or maybe even doubt the future of TRL.
Then I say to myself, “What would Frances do?”
I have personally witnessed this lady take the full force of adversity on many occasions, and never once has she become unraveled, angry, or even lost her smile and sense of humor. What a rare soul. All that work for all those years. All those decisions, guidance, examples set. Grace under fire.
No, I am counting my blessings and those of the hundreds of friends Kev and Frances have made through the years. I’m happy for them and for all of us who love them. They are the spirit of Three Rivers Lodge and
all of us who have enjoyed their company are better folks for having known them.
So 2014 will be a celebration of all that makes us unique and inviting, especially Mr. and Mrs. Barry.