The Gentle Lessons of Life

From the desk of Teresa Jordan, Executive Director – This past weekend I spent quite a bit of time beside a lake, staying in a cabin on Lake Bernard.

In the evenings I saw the sunset in the long stretches across the water. In the mornings, I watched the mist of the sunrise sweeping across the lake. During the day, I savoured the sparkling sunshine dancing on the waves. In the early mornings, I watched birds hunting for fish and people fishing in boats, plying their trade in hope of a fresh breakfast. 

The most wondrous thing throughout the weekend, however, was listening to the lake. With the exceptional weather I was able to leave the windows open and I could hear the waves, the sea gulls, the wind sweeping across the massive body of water.

Here is what I loved… at the side of this ancient lake, in the glory of this wonderful, unexpected fall weather, there was no pandemic, there were no closures, no statistics, no fear of the unknown.  The water was there full of fish and other wildlife, just as it has always been over hundreds of years. The waves were gently lapping against the rocky shore and, little by little, wearing the rocks down with a quiet, steady rhythm – as they always have.

Robert Frost is quoted as saying that the three words he knows for sure about life are: “It goes on.”We are facing extreme times, piled on top of the usual array of challenges in life, and it is easy to get overwhelmed and anxious. Find your Lake Bernard – find a spot where you can reconnect, listen to nature, listen to your own heartbeat, be still and quiet for even a few moments. In those moments of stillness, you can find a strength that will see you through to the next challenge.

Think of those gentle waves as they roll into shore, just lapping against the rocks of the Canadian shield and, without a cutting torch or chisel or anything powerful is cutting deep grooves, little by little over time. We do not need to search for a next big thing or heroic epic effort that will become legend. Like those quiet waves on the gentle lake, we can make a difference just in our steady efforts, in our careful decisions, in our gentle moves to look out for one another. 

There was nothing loud or spectacular at Lake Bernard, but in its quiet, steady,  beauty it left its lasting mark on me and set me up to face the “right now” challenges of the world again. They go on, all of the days and months and years, and the gentle quiet efforts of all us, they leave their mark.

Life is going on, in this harder time as in better times, and sparkles are dancing in quiet corners. We just need to be looking in their direction.

Photo by Sasha Martynov on

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