There’s a reason why snowbirds flock to their respective Northern homes in the warmer months. Simply put, it’s breath-taking. The crystal-clear lakes in Canada’s serene cottage country are a prescription strength sedative for the clutter clogging my daily life. The harrowing journey alone, to reach these coveted and secluded retreats, is an epic wilderness adventure.
For my always-on-the-go persona, a weekend at the lake can be delectably simple, yet daunting in the same breath. The aforementioned journey usually begins for me with the prepping, packing, and schlepping of bodies and “necessities.” Winding down from this familiar, chaotic pace, is more shocking to my system than the cold plunge I’ll inevitably be coaxed into off the end of the floating dock. The stark drop off of needing to do nothing at all sends my fragile eco-system into a reboot that takes a while to come back to life. When I finally find myself content in the quiet, it’s late in the afternoon. An awe-inspiring stillness has descended and enveloped our tucked away corner of the world.
To wake with the rising sun and catch our breakfast from a clear mountain stream. Papa bear may have been a bit enthusiastic for my taste in one of my childhood favourites “Too Much Vacation.” While waking a snooze or ten past the initial rising is more my tempo, early mornings at the lake are astounding. Never has my ritualized (née feverish) coffee routine been so rewarding. Stumble, bumble, mumble, yesterdays coffee grounds in the green bin, wheretheheckaretherecyclednonbleachedecofriendlycoffeefilters, hydrate that thing, dump an unknown/always varying amount of some strong coffee, smash the lid, business. Now we wait, le sigh. Accompanied by some close friends from home, cream and stevia, my steaming cup and I are perfectly content in the cool morning. The temperature will shortly creep up enough to fool this Floridian that it’s hot enough and time for a dip. Bathings suits are donned, and my bravado has wearied, it’s suddenly cool again. Another Berenstein Bear mountain lake accolade was “to bathe in its sparkling water.” No argument there from this salty, swampy southerner. I’ll be kind and say the water temperature is, ahem, refreshing. Staying in for a swim more than twenty minutes is likely to induce a hard-to-shake afternoon chill (remedy: a long-sleeve Robbie’s Marina t-shirt, cozy pair of socks, and one puzzle). The restorative properties are bountiful. Just ask Mac, never has that dog had such an exotic grooming treatment comparable to his silky soft coat post bath in the glorious Gull Lake.
Summer isn’t quite, Summer, it seems in the great white North. The searing heat, crisply kissed against my skin from March to November, is no longer my daily constant. Au revoir steam and sweat shellacking to my body like a second skin. Adieu vaporized lipsticks. As the adventure continues, down private roads full of un-exposed curves, my heightened senses are aware fall is just around the corner. Florida, the almost eternal summer-land, seems farther away than before. The soft maples in the creek nearby have come to stand at attention. A worthy red coat of fluttering leaves against their lingeringly green counterparts. With a short few long-days left, the back to school and work fervor in the air, I’m grateful for the quiet investments made sitting on the dock. My sister-in-law and I, placidly side-by-side. The boys spraying by in the speed boat. Les enfants laughter bouncing back along the wake. There’s no place like home, but I’m finding there’s more than one place with that name.
…for now…WINTER IS COMING.