I had a couple small dry sacks used for personal items while guiding in the Boundary Waters. One filled with my maps and the other containing a compass, 6 sheets of paper filled with Scripture and devotions, all stacked together folded in half, and lastly Reflections from the North Country by Sigurd F. Olson. This dry bag sat tucked inside my personal pack nestled on the top. I never knew exactly when it would be opened; on a portage, at night around a fire, or over morning coffee. But I did recognize I'd be needing it often. I'm not sure if the compass ever made it out of that sack the entire year, but those 6 sheets of paper and my book became well used.
As I open that book up now, I'm drawn to a page I have tabbed with some word's underlined in blue that I would read to my campers, "Wilderness can be appreciated only by contrast, and solitude understood only when we have been without it." And with that quote by Sigurd, I then turned to Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." This was usually always my devotion on day 3 or 4, depending when I felt that everyone in the group was able to contribute something from their wilderness experience. A time to derive solace or peace to share with others. It was usually at this point when the group was in harmony with the surroundings and this was the time in which Sigurd Olson said that the purpose of the trip is defeated. Everyone had been able to fully appreciate the wilderness and understand solitude. This was always an uncomplicated devotion, yet the most powerful as we reflected on the simplicity we had submerged ourselves into. Following this devotion was a time of solitude, usually lasting an hour or so. Some would read or nap and others would cast a line from shore. We would gather back up and close with a prayer.
I guided an entire summer not knowing what a Posé was, but chuckle as I write this because I always had time for rest and solitude without even thinking to create or make time for it. Being a guide was work, but restful as well. But it is outside of the BWCAW and camp when we need a Posé the most. Remote silence is becoming increasingly hard to find. Most of us have a chaotic, crazy, and hectic schedule. The day becomes consumed by work, bills, and household chores before darkness sets in. Yet we lack sixty minutes of simplicity. It's easy to find in the woods, but we do not have to be in a canoe or the remote wilderness to achieve this, rather we just need to take time to rest with God and family. If we just stopped to breathe the wind around us, listen to the birds, or even just watch the leaves fall, we could all be stronger, better, and happier than we were before.
Mike Olson DC, CCSP
VLM Summer Staff 2005 & 2007
Current VLM Board President
*This Posé originally published by VLM on June 5, 2014.