3)The Canoe by June Anderson

                                   The Canoe
                           a timeless metaphor of life and renewal
     Many years ago a young man was about to be married. Desiring to give his bride a present worthy of his love for her, he searched for the perfect gift; a gift that would travel with them on their journey through life as husband and wife. His quest took him deep into the forest where he came upon two perfect cedar trees. He felled the trees with his axe and sawed their trunks into thin planks. Shaping and smoothing the wood, he built a canoe to give his wife on their wedding day. And as she accepted his gift, he said.
Together we'll sail the Sea of Life
Side by side as Husband and Wife
    Together they paddled upstream and down river, across lakes and ponds. In the evenings they lay quietly in the canoe bottom and watched the Northern Lights dance in the heavens above.
   Before long a daughter came into their lives and then a son and the canoe became their magic carpet, taking the family to far-away islands where they set up tents for camping and built fires for cooking.
  As the children grew older the canoe became their playground for splashing and swimming and fishing and wishing. Then the children married and left home. Now alone, but together, the husband and wife continued their voyage on the Sea of Life.
    After many summers of paddling over lakes and streams and rivers and ponds, the old canoe sprang a leak, then another and another. No longer able to patch it, the husband pulled the canoe up on the beach and buried it in sand up to its gunnels.
    The wife said, "Fetch me a load of rich black dirt and I will plant a garden in our old canoe." And so she did. Daisies and daffodils, geraniums and delphiniums bloomed gloriously in the canoe garden. For many years the husband and wife tended the garden. Then came the time when they could no longer care for the flowers, and the plants withered and died. In their place grew dandelion and columbine and yarrow and thistle, for the old man and the old woman had gone away.
    Years passed and the old canoe slowly crumbled back into the earth from whence it had found life as two stately cedar trees so long ago. Then one day a bird flew overhead and dropped one--two seeds into the ground that had once been the canoe. And the next spring, on the shore of the marsh that had once been a lake, sprouted two cedar saplings.