The Lake: My First Love
“In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die.”
-Ernest Hemingway (The Complete Short Stories)
The romantic ideal is to always talk about that idyllic 'first love' as a person - but growing up in the golden fields and waterways of Lanark County, I'm fairly certain that my first 'eureka' moment was on the mighty shores of Otter and Wolfe Lake. There's something about the cleanness and remoteness of the lakes of Eastern Ontario that shreds me. Shore-side, the glassy mid-afternoon/early-evening gaze shoots an utterly profound, spiritual lightning-bolt through the spine of my core. When you're on the surface, in a vessel of any kind, you feel somewhat like a heavenly body that is nearly limitless - gliding across something so resplendent that your words become dust in the ether. All of our selfish desires cower in the presence of something so big and so beyond us in every facet.
For many years, I had to spend a lot of time away from these tracts of land. In my twenties, I moved around a lot. I kicked around in a few bands, got married, and out of necessity, I lived in sparse, stark regions of the GTA and Golden Horseshoe. Within those years, and especially during the summer months, I'd find my mind recalling memories of the pastoral Lanark landscape. There's something majestic about all of it that seems to stir my soul cauldron. The tall pines and firs. The elms. The blue lakes and rocky shores. Though I've never really been a big outdoorsy-climbery-campery person, I've always been a big fan of Mother Nature.
The lake irks the writer in me and my need for solace, while my other nature constantly fights against that still, small voice - pedestalizing and self-centerizing my ramblings and findings on the unrelenting social media soapbox.
The Lake simplifies all.
I've been blessed and thankful to be back in that rugged back-country again, and the difference is that now, in my thirties, I can truly appreciate every morsel and moment that I am there. I won't chug it. I will sip it slow and savour every bittersweet drop. Unfortunately, because of that immutable truth, time seems to whir and rocket past that much faster. The light of day corrodes into the blue-black wilting of the afternoon. Wide open days become crammed schedules of discontent and stress.
We pack our cars and we leave the Lake once again.
Thankfully, it stays where it is, and it always welcomes me back.
July Nine Binder Twine
I've never really been one for pasting my own face on my blog, but sometimes, you need to acknowledge the silliness and vanity of your own ego for what it is; a passing mustard burp.
The title of this blog brings back memories of my old friend Brad Huskins and our fondness of stringing together random rhyming words with a certain Almonte-ish country slang. Brad and I used to create our own universe. I miss that guy.
I'm sitting outside on a cool but lovely July 9th morning, and I'm realizing that many changes have taken place in my life over the past year and a bit. Sitting on the front porch of the house where I was raised seems to put things into perspective for me. But aside from the entirety of the year, these past few weeks have been insanely, breakneck speedy. I shot and edited a large video project for Skip's wedding on June 27, then I played a Canada Day show in Kemptville (with my new collective of friends called CAMP), and then I played bass in a cover band on July 5.
During the bass cover gig, I was required to visit Cobourg to visit my old friend Jeff - the cover band leader. Visiting the northumberland region always brings mixed feelings into my being. I can't pretend like I didn't spend many years there - but more so than I ever did before, I feel like a foreigner when I enter that land. In fact, I spent many years there with a partner in marriage. And now, here I am - a solo wanderer again who is okay with the fact that a day brings many things about.
The slow, rolling hills of that county have some beauty, but for me, they bring back feelings of sadness, emptiness and longing. They help me remember my strong desire to leave.
Although I had a great time seeing Jeff, I completely understood that Cobourg was just another closed window of my life - like St. Catharines, or Guelph or Kingston. It is a region filled with memories. Some good, but mostly bad - but all of them geared towards the learning process of my life and helping me along the path of continual improvement, self-betterment and spiritual fulfillment.
I had a good chat with an old friend yesterday, and it's strange and spooky how life brings you down certain and similar paths. We both talked about divorce and separation, and the whole process of being with someone and then being alone. In this time, where I am focusing on self-improvement, it's important not to forget others. We can become so wrapped up in our own spheres that we don't allow others the share their burdens with us.
Onward we go.
Cheers to you. From Tom Petty and me.