Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119)
Climbing the Stream Bed
I recall a particular event when I learned the saving grace of standing up and looking for our redemption.
One August when we were camped along side a mountain gully at Qimmiaktutujuk Akiani campsite in Clyde Inlet (Arguja) just south of Clyde River, our home community on Baffin Island, our 9 and 4 year old daughters and I went for a walk up an stream bed beside our tent. As we wandered up the mountainside, we were foraging and munching on paunnat flowers and paungat berries. As we neared the top of a rise, some of the gravel began to loosen around our steps. The girls were on all fours, and I was supporting my 4 yr old to climb up some scree at the top. Suddenly it was not just some loose rocks that were moving, but the whole stream bed began shifting. I yelled at Taktak to ‘Stand up!’ and grabbed Inut and raised her as high as I could in my arms. A whoosh of gravel went by our legs, burying our feet and our calves, up to Anna’s hips and over my knees. At the height of the landslide, a few small rocks came whizzing past, bouncing above the main flow of gravel, but grace-fully missing us. Finally after what seemed like an eternity it was over and with arm muscles and every fibre of my body straining, I tentatively set Inut down on top of the gravel. Taktak and I had no choice but to dig and wiggle ourselves out the best we could. It was not until we scrambled to the top of the rise, just a few meters above us, that we began to shake and cry and look out over the near death-scene below. Finally we were able to study the landscape to find a safer way to our tent. With shaking legs and many prayers for our safety I led the girls back down the slope to arrive about a half kilometre away from our tent. As I have re-played dreamed this scenario over and over in my head, I have often reviewed the lessons learned. Plan your route up and back before hiking anywhere. When calamity occurs, stand tall and keep alert. In times of great difficulty, you can always find the strength to physically accomplish the safety of your children. Pray without ceasing.
Indeed, when life begins to shift uncontrollably around you, and to threaten life and limb, the one sure remedy is to stand up, lift up your heads and look for your ‘salvation’.
Beverly Illauq lives in Kemptville, Ontario, where she greets each morning by seeking the Gospel Mystery of the Day - the Word of the Lord for direct and practical application to the specific challenges & joys of the day.