First time for everything

This is a picture of my favorite place. I thought that since this is my first post I’d write about a place I love. This is Mile 7. To me it is a sacred place, to most others it’s just a place where they camp and have a party in the bush. There is something about being there that renews me. I feel as though I can continue with all the things that stress me out as long as I just make it to Mile 7 at least a couple of times during the summer.

Last summer I camped there, went there with friends and family. I picked medicines there. I picked berries, swam in the lake, listened to the loon and heard a wolf. All this revived my soul. Mile 7 is where I first understood why my dad called me Sakaw Iskwew, it means bush woman in Nehiyawak (Cree). It was the name of my great great grandmother. I sat one evening by the fire, listening to the birds, the sun was setting and I breathed deeply with my eyes closed and said to my husband and kids “I just love the bush.” It was at that moment I understood why my dad called me by her name. It wasn’t to make fun of me as some might think, it was because I genuinely connected with being in nature. It makes me feel better.

The very first time I went to mile 7  was to go camping for the weekend. That was 25 years ago. I have seen it change a lot since then. The beach has disappeared, a forest fire burned a lot of the surrounding woodlands and people have left garbage while others have cleaned up after them. Many people who regularly go camping there talk about people who learn about it from locals and then leave a mess. There even used to be two outhouses there when we started camping there. Anyway, the first time you do something will always be the first time. After that first experience you decide whether it’s worth trying again. Camping out in the bush is always worth repeating for me and I guess this will be too.

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