The Deck


The view from our deck is amazing. There’s a spill of land that ends at a lake. It’s about a quarter of a mile away and across the water there’s the sheer treed face of a mountain. Above that is the sky and we can see a long stretch to the west where the sun sets over yet another mountain.

            We’ve come to appreciate the view in every season, but in the spring leading into summer, it’s particularly striking. The water seems to change color with the direction of the wind and at times it’s a mirror and you can literally see two mountains and two skies on really calm days.

            To sit out on the deck is to feel the land right around you. There are fir tress, aspens, and poplars. There are stretches of wild rose, blackberries, and wild raspberries. Behind us there are mountains and the bush sits there all rugged, deep and tough and it feels sometimes as though our backyard is Canada.

            In the evening, when the wind is calm and the daylight eases its way deeper into dusk and the land shadows and becomes a quiet thing, there’s a palpable feel of magic everywhere around you. For me, someone who spent most of my life in cities, it’s a deeply spiritual time.

            When I close my eyes I can feel the land. As I breathe deeper and deeper, I feel the energy, the spirit of it, and it’s a calming and empowering thing. It’s so quiet you can sometimes feel like you’re disappearing into it, becoming a part of everything and when I really concentrate I can feel the Indian in me, all ancient and modern at the same time.

            That’s why I love sitting on the deck so much. There are no questions then. There’s no nagging press to be somewhere or do something. There’s no urgency. Instead, with the moon coming up over everything, there’s only peace. There’s only the feel of the land. There’s only the feeling of embers from tribal fires glowing deep inside me.

            I’ve come to understand that being spiritual is the most vital thing for me– and that spiritual, in the Indian way, means getting in touch with whatever moves your spirit. That deck is one way I reach it but you can reach it just as easily through music or silence or painting. Getting touch with whatever moves your spirit. Even if we’re wrong, can you think of a better way to live?

About Richard Wagamese

I am a published author with 13 titles published by major Canadian publishers. I am a First Nations person from the Ojibway Nation in Northwestern, Ontario, Canada. As a professional writer since 1979 I have written for newspaper, radio television, magazines and book publishing. I love the culture of books and the people who populate it. 2012 recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media & Communications. View all posts by Richard Wagamese

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