Sally Howell Johnson-Pause

"I awoke to the confusion of a new day, the scraps of dreams, memories of yesterday, and new
cravings creeping into awareness, the sun spilling its light over all but the shadows and a cacophony
of sound from outside and in. What to make order of? What to let go? And who makes the choice? I
think I will go down to the river and just watch it flow. It's been a long time since I have done
something really important." David Sluyter, Fetzer InstituteI have not read Canoeing with the Cree
written in 1930 by Eric Sevareid. Mr. Sevaeid spoke at my college graduation but I don't remember that
he mentioned anything about canoeing or a river. This book chronicles his trip from Fort Snelling in
Minnesota to Hudson Bay and inspired two young men who left this past week on a similar adventure.
Eighteen-year-old friends, Sean Bloomfield & Colton Witte read this book in seventh grade and from
that moment on planned how they could make such a trip. I read their inspiring story yesterday in the
newspaper. It is amazing how the power of one book, one person's story can give shape to a life
dream. Of course, I read this story on many levels. First as a parent. The idea that your child would
take off with a friend for 10-11 weeks in a canoe, in what are still frigid waters, to live off the land and
trust their wits can make my stomach go into knots. But just as quickly this story can make my heart
soar with excitement at their determination, their planning, their drive to make something they truly
want a reality. It is the tightrope parents walk every day....roots and wings...that ability to help your
children know what grounds them while lifting their eyes toward what gives them flight.And then there
are the young men. This dream, hatched, planted, resourced, nurtured, is the stuff of
every movie we watch that brings us to tears while we cheer on the heroes. There is, after all, a bit of
Sean and Colton in each of us. We carry within us those desires and passions which urge us to follow
our bliss, to do the one thing we are sure we were born to do. Sometimes we act on them. Most often
they are the stuff of regrets. Reading about these boys-become-men gets me in touch with the
dreams left undone in my own life.Eric Sevareid created a life out of the power of words. I wonder
what he might think knowing that because of the book he wrote more than 70 years ago, two young
men are making the adventure of a lifetime. He once said:" Tenacity is a pretty fair substitute for
bravery, and the best form of tenacity I know is expressed in a Danish fur trapper's principle" "The
next mile is the only one a person really has to make."” Sean and Colton will probably get to
experience the gifts of both tenacity and bravery in the miles they are traveling, some days a little
more of one than the other.Sitting in the comfort of my sunny kitchen, I lift a prayer for them both....for
keeping their dream alive and following their hearts......for inspiring the rest of us to perhaps unlock
the crusty trunks of dreams deferred.....and, finally, prayers for their safety, always for their safety. I
am, after all, a mom.May the river teach them what is truly important. But I think they probably already

Wednesday, April 30, 2008 | Permalink | Comment on this
River Journey