Monday, August 29, 2016

cottage bliss

I’m in paradise – sitting on a deck in the sun on an island in the Muskokas. When my friend, neighbour and student Ruth read about our unfortunate cottage experience of a few weeks ago, she wrote to invite me to her family cottage for a few days. I’ve heard about her country place for years – Ruth is in my home class and a wonderful writer – and this time, my time was clear and on Sunday morning, I got on the bus to Gravenhurst.

It’s now 8.30 a.m. Monday morning. I am surrounded by water and trees and rock and silence, complete silence. Though it can get noisy here too – the woodpecker’s call and hammering, the whirr of the hummingbird, and last night those noisy party-goers, five loons, dancing and singing in a splashing group just beyond our bit of rock. Thrilling, beautiful and so Canadian, I wanted to put my hand on my heart, as the Americans do at patriotic moments. But I did not, because I am Canadian.

The thing is that this cottage is isolated and incredibly quiet, accessible only by boat and on a big island with only one other family way on the other side, and yet full of creature comforts – fast wifi, for a start, how does the internet reach here?! Big comfortable sofas, bookshelves full of good books, magazines and newspapers, good coffee and great food, big comfortable beds – how well I slept last night, with a sweet wind flooding through the huge windows.

I am a happy camper.

Only here till tomorrow, but today we are going to swim in the delicious lake, as we did yesterday, and kayak which believe it or not I’ve never done – yes, Canadian, never kayaked. But then, as perhaps I’ve mentioned, I’m not a cottage person. If I’d had a sublime retreat like this in my life, however, things would have been different.

Many many thanks to Ruth and Eric, who are not only perfect hosts, but very funny, and who have shown me why people do this. I’ve always wondered why people make such a point of fleeing the fascinating city. This morning, I thought, perhaps Canada is such a peaceful nation because so many of us have cottages. Regularly, we just sit and stare at water and breathe in pine. Very good for the soul. 

P.S. I do have to add that one reason it's so tranquil is because there are no small children here. No rushing after a one year old who's about to hurtle off the dock, or a 4 year old who is throwing toys into the lake to see if they'll sink. Just nice calm adults. I feel guilty saying so, I adore my grandchildren, but there are times it's nice they're with their parents.