Hai Lake
I ventured out of the Terrace Skeena Valley District area about 11 km south of Terrace on the west side of Beam Station Road until I reached a dirt road with a small sign that said:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It was a relatively secluded area: no one was in sight for miles around. The road to the trailhead was rough and even though it was summer I thought I’d leave my car at the side of the road and hike to the trailhead rather than risk getting stuck somewhere. I had never been on this hike or to this area before.
There were many daisies, bird songs, deer flies and mosquitoes on my walk to the Hai Lake trailhead. When I arrived at the entrance to the trailhead I stopped for a moment and felt a little anxious being all by myself in a territory I had never been, with no one around. I didn’t know how well marked the trail was and exactly where it led. I was glad I told my neighbour where I was going. As I entered onto the trail, I felt the soft layers of soil, needles, and mosses under my feet. The old growth forest had a calming effect on me: I felt humbled and at its mercy. I ventured into the richness of the place with a sense of anticipation, curiosity, and delight. The trail was marked with one square inch red labels on the trees. I followed the windy path up mountainsides, down into swampy areas, over fallen trees and almost off the trail a few times when I got absorbed in my surroundings and forgot to pay attention to where I was going. When I looked up to realize I’d rambled off the trail I felt my chest quicken and my body freeze…
stop…
     breathe…
     and trust…
 that I will find my way back to the trail…
and I always did…
but not always in the way I thought I would.
 
 
When I got down to the lake I didn’t stay long because I was being eaten alive by deer flies and mosquitoes. I decided to follow the path along the lake but a little voice in me questioned whether this was such a good idea. The path was not well trodden and the markers were different - they were orange and purple flags. I chose not to listen to that voice and ventured forward. I climbed and walked for quite awhile and as I was hoping that I was going to get back to the trailhead soon because I was getting tired, I walked out of the dense forest and into a large, open area with heaps of dead trees piled on top of each other.  I stopped in my tracks and felt my chest pounding. The clearing was really hard to navigate through and, more importantly, the markers were positioned in three different directions - which way do I go? I started to scare myself into thinking I wouldn’t find my way back if I retraced my steps. I felt the fear, turned around and retraced my steps.
I walked rather quickly back to the lake, where I knew from then on the trail was well marked. As I ambled back to the trailhead from the lake I was thinking how a few months ago I would have called this place ‘home’: I would have argued that I am at home in the natural world. This day, however, I contemplated being here with few provisions and knew that I could not survive here for more than a few days - that this place, sadly, was not my home. I wasn’t brought up to know how to live here. I am dependent on agriculture, grocery stores, hardware stores, and industry, for my food, shelter, clothing, and survival. There are only a few cultures left in this world that still know how to live within the laws of the natural world, cultures that intimately know their place and how to survive and thrive in their environment.
“Most Indigenous peoples, for example the Mikmaq on the Atlantic coast, have no sound for nature. The best translation of their natural context is “space” or “place of creation” (kisu’lt melkiko’ tin). They call their understanding of the sea, rivers and forests where they live the realm of the earth lodge (maqmike-wi’kam).... The earth lodge is understood as an interrelated space where Indigenous people have direct and extremely visceral relationships with the essential forces in nature” (Sakej Youngblood Henderson, cited in Simpson, 2004, p. 126).
Their knowledge of how to live in this world is dependent on ancient teachings passed down from generation to generation. They have evolved and lived on this earth for hundreds of years without the devastating impact that agricultural and industrial societies have had only in a short span of time. I lamented on the severing of this wisdom in the evolution of my culture and felt drawn to explore ancient ways of living in the world. It’s not like I want to go back to live like hunter-gatherer cultures but I began to imagine a way of living that is more attuned and sensitive to the other voices and species that live here. We think the world was made for us and we have the right to control our environment but I think that story is going to destroy us and that we need to create a new story that sees ourselves as one of many animate beings living on this earth, living in cooperation with and at the mercy of the environment and all life forms.
 
 
    I felt a great sense of relief once I got on the gravel road that led to my car. I knew I wouldn’t get lost now. I could relax and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of summer. Once I got to the car, I felt tired and ready to go home.
 
“Even the most hard-nosed biologist would have to admit that there are many ways that the world is -  indeed even many different worlds of experience - depending on the structure of the being involved and the kinds of distinctions it is able to make” (Varela, Thompson, & Rosch, 1991, p. 9).