Thank you Savannah for allowing me to share your beautiful story. The original published in the Elephant Journal on April 7, 2015.
Six years ago on March 14th, 2015, my mother and sister traveled through the ice to their frozen death on Lake Rosseau.
Six years ago you may have read about this tragedy on the front page of The Globe and Mail. Six years ago I was in Myrtle Beach on my friend’s family vacation thousands of kilometers away from home. Six years ago at home it was a perfect blue bird winter day—the frozen snow-packed lake calling all ice fishers, snowmobilers and March Break families out to play.
For six years I have been frozen with my mom and my sister at the bottom of the Lake, unable to let them go and unable to take them with me.
For six years I’ve been sitting at the bottom of the lake submerged by the weight of the water and all its sadness. Today marks the end of the six-year-long deep freeze: the thaw has begun.
I will begin my swim to the horizon where the water meets the air and I will take a deep breath.
When I try and picture that day out on the ice I can feel the natural beauty resonating in the refracting snowy lake light. There is purity in that frozen air that shimmers in such a magical way that you can literally feel your soul swell in your body. If you’ve experienced this, you know there’s a universal truth in this feeling.
When you’ve experienced still beauty like this it becomes engraved in your memory and when you access it, it fills you with blissful clarity. My mother once said that the best gifts in life are free. She was right; the best gifts in this life are from Mother Nature—they’re honest and unconditional.
There is truth in both light and dark places.
The truth in the light place that I just described is in the crisp, still air and the glistening snow crust and the peace that exists where they meet at the horizon.
The truth in the dark place is under 18 inches of ice and several feet of cold black water. In this truth their bodies were perfectly preserved while Mother Nature absorbed their souls into the Earth’s crust.
This is also an honest and unconditional act of Mother Nature; She took them and She’s not giving them back.
It has taken me until now to be able to hold this dark truth; they were taken and I was not.
They are dead and I am alive.
They are not supposed to be here and I am.
I was left here for a reason.
We cannot do it alone, and yet, we are all we have. How can we both be alone and together simultaneously in a truthful way? I am just beginning to understand the depths of this question.
And I know that the fact that there is truth in both light and dark places is a critical part of this balancing act. We must grow comfortable in our own skin to express ourselves and experience beauty authentically. Often that beauty is reflected in sharing experiences with others, but for it to be real, for it to resonate, we must feel the light in our own bodies alone in the dark.
We must know our contribution and our worth in just being.
Each person’s presence is undoubtedly part of the molecular makeup of this life—we are all connected in one way or another. We are all organic organisms of this earth and therefore, all part of the honest and unconditional gifts of Mother Nature.
So it is hard for me to admit, but the truth is this: my mother and sister’s death was a gift.
Losing them has given me the gift of courage, the gift of independence, the gift of empathy, the gift of true peripheral vision and the greatest gift of all—the gift of self love. I cry for them often and their tragic death has left scar tissue in my heart, but I hold these gifts in my heart too, and I am only 23.
Many people would say that what I’ve experienced is too much for a young woman. I have felt this “ too much” for six years. But, as Mother Nature’s gifts to me have become visible and tangible I am aware of a kind of spiritual wealth that I never would have imagined.
This spiritual wealth translates into person power—big energy. In this energy my frequency pulls me out of that water and I get to swim in my soul at that peaceful horizon where the water meets the air.
It is time to celebrate. I am not frozen any more. I had to pull myself out of school to begin this thaw and I don’t think I will finish any degree in the immediate future. I will continue to grow in different, maybe unconventional, learning environments.
I will continue to study yoga and deepen my own delicious practice.
I will travel and sit with Mother Nature in other parts of the world.
And, when I get out of the water completely, I will climb to my favourite horizon where the crisp, still air caresses the glistening snow crust on the peak of a mountain. When I close my eyes this is where I want to be—on the peak of a mountain with my feet grounded in Mother Nature and Heaven all around me.
Author: Savannah Robinson
About Savannah Robinson
Savannah Robinson is a survivor. But, she is not particularly fond of that word. To her, the word survivor is finite – it comes with a period at the end. She has survived the tragic loss of her mother and sister. She has survived a brutal eating disorder.She has survived emptiness and self-
loathing. Savannah is done surviving. She ismoving towards thriving. Today Savannah Robinson is a 23-year-old, vibrant young woman. She’s on a mission to find happiness and abundance in everything she does. She loves to do a lot—cook, travel, eat, play guitar, sing, talk politics, art and social justice, back country, deep-powder skiing, yoga, serving tables, bartending—you name it! Of all the things she loves to do though, writing is at the top of the list. Writing is Savannah’s vehicle to share her story with you—the story of her journey out of survival mode.
This is probably the last snowy photo I will put up for this season since spring is on everyone’s mind now. I took this photo a few weeks ago while touring around Bala. There has been a lady living in this van (down by the river) who is in protest of the Bala Falls being turned into a generating station. This controversy has been going on for a few years and was originally led by ex Mayor Alice Murphy who lives downstream to the falls. I see the pros and cons for both sides and personally feel that the citizens and taxpayers in Bala are the ones that should be making the decision to determine the outcome. You have to admire someone so entrenched in what they believe that they sacrifice their lifestyle and make a stand.
This is a church in Bala near the Bala Falls. It was very quiet on a cold winters day when I passed by recently. Only a few people around on snowmobiles. I believe they use this church to sell arts and crafts now.
I took a drive past the Kee to Bala recently and noticed lots of sled activity visiting the pub next door. Looking forward to those hot sweaty nights listening to some fine tunes at the Kee.
Roadside distractions. Perhaps a honey farm near by or Buzz lives here?
I have not made it up north as often this winter. For the lack of photographic content I couldn’t resist posting this. Cheers!- especially to my American friends.
If you haven’t made it up to cottage country lately and were curious about the weather, here is a photo from yesterday in Muskoka. There has been constant snow falling since the start of the new year. Great for the sleds but not so great for those wanting to travel the roads. Thanks to Leslie for supplying the photo.
The ice-out bubblers and illuminated warning signs are installed. I noticed the water levels to be high for this time of year. I like to have the ice cleared from forming around boathouses and docks. The Ministry will drop the lake levels on some lakes at some point leaving tons of ice hanging which can cause serious structural damage. Sledders and people out on the ice need to be properly warned of these open and dangerous areas.
I have seen Moose around Muskoka and of course there are more frequent sightings as you travel north or go deeper into the woods. I almost hit two of them that were running down a dark road one night. These large beasts can stand close to 7 feet tall and weigh up to 1500 lbs. They are normally not very aggressive but if you cross paths or annoy them they can be nasty. Don’t Spook the Moose.
If you haven’t heard, Muskoka and area has experienced some significant snow fall recently. I was hoping for one of those slow transitions where the snow would arrive in some leisurely way around Christmas. That doesn’t seem to happen much anymore. This year it arrived with a wallop. I hope you have all of your outside work completed.
I usually keep the machines in as long as I can and that’s usually up to when we start seeing snow. My last ride of the season was on Lake Rosseau around the Venetian group of Islands. The colors have disappeared and so have most of the seasonal residents. There has been a few small snow flurries and it won’t be long until Muskoka gets blasted with old man winter. The season has switched.
Someone shared this beautiful video of Bala Falls with me. It was taken from a drone in and around the Bala Falls. You can see the Muskoka fall colors and the beautiful cascading waterfalls. I recommend you play it in full screen with the highest resolution you can.
The view from the top of the Dorset Lookout Tower. It can be a bit of a shaky walk up the stairs especially when the winds are blowing. The tower is about 100 feet high and the overall elevation is about 500 feet over the Lake of Bays.
If you are interested in experiencing the fall colors in cottage country, now would be a good time. Many areas are currently at peak. Visit the Algonquin Park fall color report page for updates. Also check out the parks live webcam here
The fall colors are extra brilliant this year in Muskoka. I was out for a ride on Lake Rosseau recently and noticed this small aircraft anchored in a quiet bay with a pretty color backdrop. I hope you get out and take some of this beauty in.
I started out early as the sun was beginning to peek above the horizon. I was concerned about the sound of my engine awakening people as they lie nestled between their sheets. The air was cool and crisp and the lake was as still as it ever gets. I was all alone and it was good.