Tag Archives: death

The Last Portage

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I love this lake and all its moods.

Love how a loons song oft intrudes.

Paddled water in deep blue and green,

From her bays and islands to her feeder stream.

I know these rocky tree lined shores,

I know them well… but nothing more.

My vessel’s safe and strong.

I hate to get out and yet I long….

To see what else.  And is there more?

Hard tho it may be, I know what the portage is for.


* For me, this poem is an allegory about moving on from a place that is familiar to a place that we don’t know… often through the course of a trial or struggle.  The word “portage” means “the carrying place” in French.  Anyone who has struggled across a rocky or muddy 1000 meter portage while carrying a 50 pound backpack and balancing a canoe over their heads JUST so you can see “what does the next piece of wilderness look like?” will understand this metaphor for life.  I wrote this at the time that my grandfather was passing away.  His last days here were such a struggle.  It reminded me so much of a difficult portage.  I prayed for him while he made his way through “the last carrying place”.  I just know that when he reached the other side of that struggle that it was beautiful.  I am sure it was hard to let go of this life — because it is a beautiful life and it is familiar and comfortable and we know what to expect.  But when the time comes to leave… I hope that I have the courage that it will take to “carry over.”