A Cottage Tale….

IMG_5625It can be said, that coming down to the  dock, trying not to slip on the soggy weathered plank decking on my way, was a challenge… Balancing a cup of coffee in one hand and a wayward beagle was another. So, by the time I planted myself in a big “muskoka chair”down  by the water , I was in essence having a touchdown, of sorts.

The lake was a smooth flat plane of  clear class.  It was utterly breathtaking.  All was calm and  still, and the birds must have been  sleeping in their nests, because it was  silent.

When the lake is like this, it takes my breath away.  There is a surrender to the elements, the trees, the water, and the earth, and I feel a deep sense of euphoria just being here.

It is special…:this spot.  It is where we gather.  It is in the scent of fresh pine, wet wood, and dark earth, and the heady concoction of the mix is transformative.  We remember here….There are so many memories.  At times I feel my departed loved ones so keenly, that I find myself holding my breath, and they feel so close to me, that I could almost touch them… if only.

The missing of these people cuts like ice water through my veins.  More time… I wish we had more time together upon this earth, and in this special place.

What an incredible gift this cottage is.  My Mom and Dad built it at least 40 years ago.  This was one of my Dad’s favorite places, if not his all-time best place to spend his weekends.  He and my Mum showed our family the meaning of togetherness, sharing, love, and hospitality.  I think some of the best lessons of my life were learned in this spot.

The sound carries so perfectly across the clear blue, and the buzzing of a distant bee lets me know that  the sweetness of fresh honey is being crafted close by.

The sweetness, that’s what it is… There is a sweet, mixed with a pungeant sorrow here for me now.  It is a love/hate symbiotic relationship.  It is dark and light, and yet somehow the reality of living in loss seems to make me feel things more intensely, more viscerally….and for that I am honestly grateful.

We have spent a wonderful bunch of days here in this past week.  My brother Dean and his family have been here.  There was so much utter enjoyment in planning meals together, and feeding all 12 or more of us..Sitting around the large dining table, squishing together on the golden pine benches, and with complete abandon, filling our  faces, was simply magical. Dean built huge fires on the magestic stone fireplace originally constructed  by Horace Klickenboomer…yes that is his name..  such a terrific name at that,  although I’m not certain that I spelled it correctly..

Dean slow cooked delicious ribs, that were so tender, they slipped from the bone with ease.  They were complimented by baked beans, potato salad, fresh coleslaw, and home baked biscuits.  He then marinated jerk- bacon for a day, and cooked that… yes…it was unbelievable, and yes, my stomach is growling at the memory.  Wait… maybe there are some left overs I could scrounge up for breakfast.. care to join me?

We took a ride to Port Carling, and got caught in quite the intense rain shower on the way back.  The pelting rain felt like tiny needles piercing your face all at once.  It was nothing, if not exhilarating..  Dean maneuvered across the waves, and got us back to the dock in one piece….As we disembarked, we had to manage our steps, as the wood was slippery, and soaked through.

The kids, swimming, laughing, boating, playing games of scrabble, and playing on the jet skis with complete freedom was an elixir to my being.  Watching them giggling, and shoving one another into the water, just balm for my soul.

Its another generation that gets to enjoy the specialness of this spot, and to my parents, I’m forever indebted   for providing this summer vacation spot for us.

When I look into the water, I picture my Dad floating around, treading water, and visiting from the lake.  He was like a mighty fish, and he enjoyed just  swimming around, almost more comfortable in the water, than upon the land.

Yesterday, the kids were out on the jet skis, and the ski ropes became entangled in the engine suction.  They were wound up so tightly, that the guys from the Mariana had to come and tow them to the marina , and trailer them back to the mechanic who  could hopefully, and successfully unwind them.

The kids were disappointed, but I couldn’t help but correlate the visual of being ” wound up too tight,” to that of my emotions.  How often do I just let myself live in that space?  I’m so used to being wound up like a rope around a spool, that letting these emotions just gently unravel, takes a “mighty mechanic ” to undo…to loosen.  I get so used to this state of uncomfortable , that letting go of the rope,  and cutting away the thick strands  from the engine of my heart, takes some energetic finesse.

I look at how the dogs enjoy their time up here.  They explore, adventure, chase chipmunks, and laze on the dock, content to just…be… Occasionally neighbor dogs come by for a visit, and sometimes a stolen loaf of bread,(Scout,) but dogs seem to give us the genuine example of what it means to “cottage.”  Yes…I’m using this as a verb.

I think ” to cottage,” means, the act of unwinding by the lake, in rain or shine, with family and friends.  Also, to commune and dine together, where games, and mosquito swatting is actively involved.”

You may not find the aforementioned term in wickopedia, but perhaps…it can be added…at a later date?

I hear  the sound of the distant train chugging across the land, and somewhere from over the water, there is a gentle splash, where a swimmer slices into the inviting depths for a cool dip.

A fish, or two, jump excitedly into the air, happy to have eluded the fishermans’ lures for another day. The loons are gently calling, and gliding through the inky blackness of the deep… like bird mermaids…

This is a place where a soul can worship… the church at the cottage, is the cottage… I can feel Jesus all around me, enveloping me, and quieting my spirit.  Only He can do that for me…It’s the church gathering of He and I, and He meets me in this place, and “peace like a river,” envelops me, and hugs me in it’s embrace.

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