Day 70. ( Sept. 16th) Ruby Red and the Water Dragon

Today is the first day where I came close to the edge of danger.  I lost control of the canoe, I had to surrender to where the waves wanted me to go. I was alone being pushed and pulled by large swells of water, the fear moving from my belly to my throat like a see saw, back and forth. As I looked ahead I could see the open water I was being sucked into. I was terrified.

It all happened so fast. I woke up to a nice sunrise on a long sandy beach just around the southern tip of Eskasoni. The water was moving in from the south west and looked calm: Slight ripples. As I began to paddle I saw onshore my first autumn tree, red and yellow leaves. I could feel fall’s fingers running through summers ‘s hair. The lows at night are single digits and my hands felt  cool and slow.

A few hundred feet later as I came around the corner I got nailed by a strong North wind on my left.  I started padding hard and deep to cut through the waves.  When I realized how futile that was I tried to head into Eskasoni.

That was when I realized I was no longer in control of where I was going. I could not take the force of the wind, the current, the waves and swells. The lake was a water dragon who woke up mad.

Everything was stronger than me. I had to turn the bow of the canoe to go with the waves. The waves were taking me to a 5km stretch of open water heading to Big Pond. My mind raced as the swells got bigger and I got further and further from shore. I started thinking of a plan to deal with the real possibility of ending up in a windy sea.

I realized I would be instantly seperated from everything in the canoe. I realized I could die. It took dozens of attempts but I managed to get one cell phone call off by just hitting the buttons blindly. It was my friend Ed.  I screamed to him with the phone on my lap frantically paddling,

” Ed I am in over my head, I got sucked out to open water by strong winds and I think I am going to end up overboard. Call coastguard and tell them my gps coordinates and that I am in trouble.”

All I heard was,  OK and fuck. Then the phone dropped to the floor of the canoe and that was that.

At this darkest moment of fear I could taste blood in my mouth and my heartbeat pounding in my throat but my thoughts were of a beautiful stone I found in the red brown clay cliffs of Castle Bay. It was a  red stone that sparkled. It was deep in the ground exposed by erosion as are thousands of years of our sedimentary past, layers and layers accumulated over time. I saw the small red stone sparkle in the sunlight and I dug it out of the clay, washed it in the salty water and put it into my pocket. Just before I left I saw a grey rock with white rocks on it, like a natural temple in the wild. I thought I should put ruby red on the rock but I was already attached. Like Bilbo the hobbit the rock had already become ‘my precious.’

ruby red-3


Now, in angry swells coming at me all I could think about was the ruby stone and I shouted into the wind,

” I promise to return the stone as soon as I get to shore.”

An hour later like a shipwrecked fool I stumbled onto a sandbar, kissed a stone on the ground, dug out ruby red from a coat pocket buried in a packed bag and threw her back into the sea.

Ruby red was now back where she belonged. With the stories of this land and the ancestors in the sea. I have come to learn and listen.



  1. Cathryn October 11, 2015 at 7:31 am - Reply

    Dear Dianne,

    No words for the challenges you face on this journey. So glad you are safe. Praying for continued protection for you!

  2. mary lou Sherman October 11, 2015 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Sending you guiding light for a safe journey, my friend. Always listen to the Universe…she knows best!

  3. Sabine October 11, 2015 at 8:36 am - Reply

    I didn’t weep, but my eyes are moist — as much about Ruby red as about you — loving safely sharing your adventure, Dee.

  4. Roxane October 11, 2015 at 10:13 am - Reply

    I pray for u every day that u will be safe. Enjoy the next lesson of your journey!

  5. Cathy Richard October 12, 2015 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    hey Dianne, lots of luck on your ventures. God Speed from the crew at Dundee Resort Cape Breton.

  6. cal bevans October 15, 2015 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    just remember…whenever…take care…sit back…relax and enjoy……calor

  7. H & E Kennedy October 20, 2015 at 2:30 pm - Reply

    Met you this evening in Port Hood near the trail. Best of Luck with your journey and stay safe!

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