The Tragedy of Waste

The Tragedy of Waste

The Tragedy of Waste

The Tragedy of Waste

Excerpt

You and three others are approaching a spruce-clad island on a lake in the virgin wilderness of northern Ontario. You have two canoes and between their thwarts lie your food, your tent, your axes. The nearest Hudson Bay Post is 100 miles to the south. You are on your own. Completely. It is after six in the evening and storm clouds are banking in the east. It promises a wet night in camp.

What precisely is your procedure as the canoes ground on the beach? With small variations depending upon the expertness of your technique, your procedure is this. The tent is slung and ditched on a high level spot. If time allows, bedding is cut. Blankets and spare clothing are safely stowed inside. The canoes are turned over and supplies stored beneath them. A small cooking fire is lighted between two upright stones and supper started. To be fed after a twenty-mile paddle, to keep warm and dry against the storm--every motion is conserved to that end. To defy it may turn a summer holiday into a tragedy.

But suppose one of you had roamed the woods and brought back poisonous toadstools for a mushroom soup; one had lain down on the beach and gone to sleep; one had cut down tall trees for tent-poles when all that was demanded was a rope slung between two standing trees; and . . .

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