Snapshots of a Swamped Canoe #1: Getting There

Reflecting on the experience of being swamped in a canoe, I realize memories are a series of pictures with embedded emotions. This is the first in a series called, “Snapshots from a swamped canoe.” Getting There.Last Snapshot on the Lake

Moments before there was calm–a five mile an hour wind, blue sky, and peace.  We were on the tail-end of our excursion and heading for “home” after a stop on Echo Island and a tour through the grasslands. There’s something exciting about being on the water, making your way to places only reached by boat–voyageur kind of exciting. The thrill of the unknown and unexplored.

We angled toward Northern Lights Resort where we stayed on Lake Kabetogama in Voyageurs National Park. We were paddling over to take a picture of our cabin from the lake. It was our last stop before shore. It was the last photo taken with the camera that hung around my neck.

A fishing boat came into the bay. In it were two men, a woman and a boy around 2 years old. They were looking for fish–pointing in our direction. It was late afternoon on Labor Day. They were focused–in a hurry. I’m not sure if they saw us, not that we were inconspicuous, but they sped directly towards us.

I shouted out to them,

Slow Down! Don’t swamp our canoe!

The driver cut the engine and shouted back, “What?”

I repeated,

Don’t swamp our canoe.

I’m not sure if the message was received, ignored, or misunderstood. The intended communication was thwarted. He gunned the throttle.

Two Boats and the Common Denominator

The speed boat persona:

  • intense focus
  • determination to reach a goal
  • people, places and things = obstacles to get around
  • it’s about speed and going places. Going. Going. Going.
  • end goal is important

The canoe persona:

  • gently moving through the water of life
  • in-between places are noticed
  • people, places and things = unexpected opportunities & adventures
  • going with the flow, a slower pace. Time. to. Breathe.
  • journey is important

We can find ourselves in either boat, sometimes driving the speed boat, sometimes paddling the canoe. We all have goals. We all have journeys. Our lives intersect. We all navigate the same lake together. How can we achieve our goals and enjoy the journey without running someone down or losing ourselves and what’s valuable in the process?

Can we?

Can we be focused and still notice what’s around us? Can we engage with people, places and things in route to our goals? How can we *simply* support others in achieving their goals as we pass them by? These are the things I am wondering for myself.

Your Turn

I invite your reflections, thoughts and ideas.

Marie LaForce About Marie LaForce

Writer | Photographer | Explorer |Dreamer | Intentional Disciple of Christ


  1. If you had to have one last picture with that camera, you picked a good one 🙂

  2. Marie LaForce Marie LaForce says:

    Who’s that handsome man holding that paddle? In 15 short minutes, you’ll be in the lake.

  3. Courtney L.B. Whited says:

    I too share your same sediments. Two things I often remind myself are:
    I am enough and I have enough.
    Stop and just be….enjoy what is around you right now.
    Thank you for sharing.

  4. Marie LaForce Marie LaForce says:

    I could repeat that over and over, Courtney. I am enough. I have enough.

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