Monday, August 9, 2021

greetings from paradise, Ontario

Just received this lovely thing:

Your faithful correspondent writes to you today from paradise: my friend Ruth's cottage on an island in Muskoka. We drove up yesterday morning, loaded the boat with our many supplies, drove the boat across, unloaded, had lunch, had a nap, walked around the island - "Forest bathing," said  Ruth - read, talked. It was supposed to rain but held off till night. I had a swim. We ate exotic Persian food brought from Cabbagetown for dinner - chicken stew with walnuts and pomegranates on saffron rice - watched the first episode of a Turkish series, Fatma, then the gripping Unforgotten on PBS; after Ruth went to bed I watched Professor T

Paradise! She and her husband bought this cottage more than 50 years ago, with an outhouse and propane heat. Now it has many mod cons including high-speed internet and cable TV. How that's possible on an island in the middle of the Muskoka forests, I don't understand. Nothing nearby, the only noise boats on the lake, birds, the lapping of waves, the wind in hundreds of huge trees. Hummingbirds at the feeder, chipmunks chattering, Ruth and I talking, talking.

It'll be hot and sunny today but thunderstorms are predicted for the rest of the week. She'll take me to the bus home on Thursday. Today she's watching her Pandemic University at midday, while I dance with Nicky online. She's reading a massive biography of Tom Stoppard. I'm reading a magnificent book, Other People's Letters, by Mina Curtiss, a fascinating woman who seventy years ago knew everyone who was anyone. I had to special order the out-of-print book, interested because she's dealing with letters and a diary written years before, as I will do in my next pieces - how does she make it work? She does, she really does.

I was invited here last year, too; the journey to this cottage is the only travelling I've done in a year and a half. Being in this place of such beauty and tranquilly and comfort and friendship is a feast for the soul. 

Here we are sharing an office yesterday: