In June, I joined my brother and other family members at a rented cottage a few hours north of Toronto in densely forested Ontario. A steep dirt path through pines, maples, and naturally lined by ferns, not landscaped, led down to the lakeside.
The water was cold at first, but felt comfortable after a minute or two. My brother stood at the edge of the dock waiting for courage, then dove in. I preferred to use the ladder, slowly submerging one step at a time until my swimsuit was getting wet, then push off into the water and swim to warm up.
The mosquitoes were ever present and relentless. Fortunately, my family brought effective bug spray so I wasn’t obsessed with defending myself, although they managed to find any spots I’ve missed. Dragonflies with their colored wings, light shining through them, hovered at times, hopefully feasting on the mosquitoes. The big deer flies I could live without. One morning I took a walk right after a shower, with my hair wet, and they flew about my head incessantly.
Sitting by the dock, I was reading a beautifully descriptive book about another place (The Outer Beach, by Robert Finch, about Cape Cod). I came across the phrase “engaging the senses.” I sat back and let my own senses embrace the lake scene.
Listening to the gentle breeze rustling the tall trees. Cool in shadow, where I sat, the blazing sun made its way across the sky in echo, its reflection kept pace across the softly undulating waves, light sparkling on the surface of the water. A brief commotion of geese calls, something they suddenly needed to argue about or call to each other before taking flight. Goslings followed their parents, drifting by in a line. Shadows of the leaves speckled the deck as the sun and wind moved through them. My brother pointed out a loon further out on the water. The smell of fresh lake water and its choking green plants reaching up under the surface.
I liked to watch the constant movement of the reflections of the trees that border the lake, and of the small island. I kayaked out there one afternoon. There’s a cottage on the island, but I didn’t go all the way around to see it. I hugged the shore, looking for plant and wildlife.
White clouds hung on the horizon most mornings, shimmering blue sky above. One day it was mostly cloudy; it was a treat when the sun poked through, peering at us down below, then tucking back behind the clouds again. One morning I caught the sunrise, although not quite early enough to see it rise over the horizon.
It was quiet in the early morning; the subtle sounds of the lake were not competing with voices and motorboat vrooms. Saturday was a busy day for visitors to the lake, kids splashing, yelling, laughing, a dog whining to join the children and finally jumping in.
Please do not download or reproduce images from this site. ©
Your comments are welcome!
Email me at: Ruth@RuthRosenfeld.com