Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Moraine Memoir

I finished my 6 week online writing course recently. It was great to be stretched just a bit and to try working on writing! My favorite piece from the course was this one that fell under the creative non-fiction sub-genre of travel writing. I chose a travel memoir format, describing part of our 2009 trip to Moraine Lake, in the Canadian Rockies.

I praise God for His creative genius, and for the fact that He gives us all things to enjoy!

God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. Genesis 1:31

...put [your] hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. I Timothy 6:17

My teacher gave me some ideas for improving the piece, so that's my personal challenge in the coming weeks, but here's the original I turned in for the assignment:


A documentary had alerted us to the existence of the technicolor lakes of the Canadian Rockies. We traveled nearly 2,500 miles to see if it was true

We chose one lake in particular to explore: tiny, well-hidden Moraine Lake. And we got as close to it as we possibly could, entering the lake in a canoe that cold September day.

It was almost painfully beautiful as we floated in the milky turquoise water, the reflection of the ice and snow capped mountains jutting down into the lake. The placid surface was silvery, graceful.

The whole scene was a wonder – the big picture: us in our little canoe in this tiny blue lake with the Rockies towering about us, all streaked with white from ice and snow; the grand, great sky above reflecting more blue down on the water, intensifying its color. If we sat very still, not paddling the canoe, we could see the clear and perfect mirror image of craggy mountains.

We paddled about quietly, taking in both the big and small pictures. The rocks and plant life around the lake were all so different from anything we’d ever seen. There was the strange way the water was ever so clear, but then not clear at all, really – its opacity obscuring the end of our canoe paddles if we held them down a few feet below the surface.

Rich green and golden moss caked the rocks and downed trees here and there along the shore in places, and conical evergreens of all sizes created mysterious shade just beyond the water’s edge.

At many points along the lake’s perimeter, the feet of the mountains themselves met the water. In some places, the meeting was the crunchy, tiny gravel produced as glaciers not-too-distant scraped through the mountains. When a little thawing occurs, the pulverized mountain bits are whooshed down the sides of the peaks, resulting in what looks like a flow of mountain-dust that stops there at the water’s edge. But it doesn’t stop – it’s the tiniest of these glacier-ground particles that lend the water its breathtaking blue hue.

Further along the shore, there are rockier spots, where avalanches and weather and time have dislodged and crumbled boulders and what’s left are sharp, randomly sized and shaped heaps of rocks. We ran our hands over both the silt piles and the larger rock heaps, picking out a few to handle, cold like glass and sometimes as sharp.

The beauty was in both the majestic and the miniscule everywhere we looked, but I’ll never forget the simple, unparalleled, breathtaking experience that was us, floating on turquoise perfection.


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