• Windword Press

The spirit of the forest

Updated: Nov 21, 2019

Lake Obabika is a crystal clear lake with a wild temper and terrifying legends. in that area.

When I had been there before, it had been overcast and damp, and I and other journalists ended up being trapped there overnight, because the pilot refused to try to fly back in that day, given the conditions. Even coming in, we had been flying only slightly above the treetops. Tents were quickly found and I spent that night being serenaded by the whispering raindrops falling through the great pine branches.

It was the summer after, and I wanted to show my family the amazing things I had seen while there.

We had a fairly heavy canoe which we had rented for the trip, which was a good idea. If we had anything lighter, it likely would have been swamped.

The day was brilliant and hot, and the wind swept down the lake with a rising fury focused on the fact that there were three mortals daring to enter this wild heaven-on-earth place.

I didn't know the legend then, that people are not welcome on the lake. I also didn't know the warning, that people who dare to go should keep their distance from the east shore.

We were still fighting valiantly against the strong wind and high waves which we were heading directly into. I couldn't help feeling this oppressive power baring down on us from above and around. We got the message, loud and clear, that we were somewhere pretty dangerous when only a couple of hundred feet behind us a huge rock fell off the cliff and hit the water at a place we had only just passed.

We veered off to the west shore where a group of small islands offered shelter from the strong winds. Keeping to this path, we were able to marvel at the view of the bottom of the lake. Freshwater clams and fish were there in abundance. The light was rippling across the sand below and our canoe was a shadow floating across the face of the lake bed.

It was almost unbearably hot when we finally reached the north end of the lake.

Years of waves, ice and snow, had carved the shoreline into a series of rock bathtubs. The undulating shore offered many opportunities for swimming and luxuriating in nature's own spa.

But the heat had done its part, and the Manitou, or whatever wild spirit it was out there, was not done with us yet, and by the time we got our tents set up, we were exhausted with the day's efforts so far.

We crashed, and dozed off beneath the blazing sun and deep blue sky with the great pines hanging over us, sentinels while we slept. Overhead, a bald eagle tipped its wing and drifted off toward a meal spotted in the nearby forest. If safely tucked into our tents, we could do little harm with our presence in this wild sacred place.

About a kilometre away, at the north side of a small lake inland, there is a strange rock formation. When I first saw it, the day had been dark and overcast. The gloom and resulting shadows clearly picked out a fifty-foot tall face in the cliff that embraced the lake.

I brought my family to the same location, but the blazing sun was not part of the optical effect. It was not for us, it seemed. The face did not appear. Perhaps we didn't have the appropriate reverence, or high purpose. But we came with awe, and were allowed to return safely back to the towns and roads of everyday life. The eagle appeared at times, watching as we finally packed up and left.

It was a great place, and I do believe in its magic. As much as I never saw or felt that amazing power again, I will always remember. I may not be worthy, but I am forever a believer. There is something in the forest—a spirit which you can feel when you dare to go a little further out than where you are truly safe.

I think that's what is called the Manitou.

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