Gazing over the swaying carpet of green, I watched Bert guide their canoe through the rice as Johnnie rhythmically guided kernels onto a growing pile of rice in the widest part of their canoe. Bert expertly adjusted the canoe’s speed to match Johnnie’s flails as they bent the rice over the gunnel and gently brushed the rice. A few yards away Lynden and Lawson snaked their own path through the bed of rice. They made it look so effortless, so graceful, dancing through the rice.
Each couple easily gathered twice as much rice as Amy and me. When asked about it, Johnnie just smiled and talked about a couple she riced with long ago who made the process look effortless.
Their teaching ranged far from ricing to hanging tarps and using a crooked knife, identifying plants and appreciating tiny details sitting right under our noses. Most importantly they taught us that while we have learned a lot during our Year in the Wilderness, we have just skimmed the surface. There are many lifetimes worth of knowledge hidden in this amazing Wilderness. If we listen, learn and practice, I hope that someday we can be the canoe dancing effortlessly through the rice, smiling as we spin yarns about our week in the woods with Bert, Johnnie, Lynden and Lawson.