So, my mom has taken it upon herself to reorganize all the contents of the drawers and cupboards up at our cottage, which is a great idea.
The best part of the whole venture is the list she put together detailing where everything is, which I find highly amusing. Next time I am up there I am going to check out Drawer 4 — I am very intrigued by the thought of what exactly constitutes ‘weird stuff’ from my mom’s perspective. This should be interesting.
I woke up yesterday morning to the sound of rain on the roof of the cottage. When you’re only up north on weekends, of course you hope for every day to be sunny with blue skies. But my former camp director had a great expression for rainy, grey days. She would look up at the sky and say “Well, it’s a silver day in the Bay!”
A nice example of some positive reframing.
Me and my friend the Fox hanging out on the shores of Lake Huron.
If you follow this blog for any length of time, you will hear me talk a lot about the Georgian Bay, which is part of Lake Huron. 55 years ago, my grandparents got together with friends of their and bought some land (for what was I’m sure a princely sum at the time but is almost laughable by today’s standards). Although they had no way of knowing it, of course, the decision they made those many years ago would turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. So thanks, guys! You are super awesome.
The reason they became acquainted with the area to begin with was because my dad and his brother were campers at the summer camp I’ve previously written about. Going up to visit their kids, I can see how they would have fallen in love with the landscape. How could you not?
I am an avowed cottage fanatic, and I’m sure it comes as no surprise to hear me say that some of the best times of my life have been spent there. It never fails – the moment I step off of the dock at our marina (we’re on an island with boat access only), all of the worries and anxieties buzzing around my head seem to slow down, or melt away. It’s hard not to feel relaxed and at peace in the midst of such majestic natural beauty.
The shoreline at the back of our island is composed of thousands of rocks, of all shapes and sizes. These rocks have been sitting where they are for an eon, and will be there long after I am gone. Some days I wish I was a Georgian Bay rock, basking in the warmth of the summer sun, gently buffeted by the waves lapping at the shore and the cool breeze of the westerly winds.
This is how I imagine myself as a GBay rock. Pretty cool stripes, huh?
When I was 15 years old I worked at a summer camp. I wasn’t a counsellor, because it was a camp for boys, but there were some female staff there — the sailing and swimming instructors, the office assistants, and the people like me who worked in the dining hall, basically as glorified waitresses. Cleaning up after 200 messy campers three times a day might sound like thankless drudgery but it taught me a lot about the value of hard work — plus I was only 15, so I couldn’t really legally be employed anywhere else. There were parts that were super fun too — I mean, the pay was ridiculous, and the hours were horrendous, but I was working with a bunch of other girls who were awesome, and we had some really good times. The best thing about it was being in the Georgian Bay, which — take my word for it — is the most beautiful place in the entire world. There are literally no words to describe how much I love it.
Anyway, one of my tasks that summer was to sweep the dining hall after every meal, which I enjoyed, partly because I really like sweeping and partly because sometimes, when I was feeling in a particularly reflective mood, I would sneak underneath one of the big oak tables and lie there staring at the rafters for a while, just zoning out. One of the camp’s traditions was that each year, the winners of the prestigious end-of-summer contest were granted the honour of choosing a saying or a motto that would be carved in wood and hung along the huge beams that ran across the hall, for future generations to ponder. I only remember a few of them: ‘In the Boy Is Seen the Man’ was one, and there were other lofty standards pertaining to sportsmanship, nature, camaraderie, etc. The best one, though, was ‘The West Wind Shapes the Pine’. There’s something so majestic about it, and so uniquely Canadian. If you are familiar with the work of the Group of Seven you’ll be able to picture just such a windswept pine, bent by decades of howling westerly gales.
I was thinking about this saying today. Like the mighty pine, we too are shaped by the forces that prevail upon us, sometimes brutal and unyielding. Despite repeated battering, though, we remain standing — bent, perhaps, but not broken. At least that is the goal.