Sneak Peek: A Silky Swim

Disclaimer:  Sneak peeks may include material that has not been sufficiently edited. Read at your own risk. All content in this category is copyright material.

Where you see one of these: “Canoe Lake (Creek, 1908)” it refers to a piece of Thomson’s art. Go to Google and image search for Tom Thomson’s “Creek”

The sun made the trees cast long shadows inland, making it difficult to see the cabin, but left us in full sunlight. You know when you’re out in the scorching summer sun and your arms get itchy? I’d developed a makeshift scale to gauge the strength of the sun based on the time it would take from exposure to itchiness. That day it took three minutes, making for quite powerful rays of light, and fast itchiness. It was happily relieved with scratches – until I started to burn – and plenty of floating along on water mattresses with arms dangling in the cool, clear water. Even at a depth greater than six feet you could still clearly see the bottom. So, we spent most of the afternoon alternating between the beach and the soft, velvety water, drifting between our beach and the – now stripped of trees down the middle – peninsula that runs south through Canoe Lake.

Audrie brought her crossword with her and I took in some general history from books about Algonquin Park. I honestly intended to read but fell asleep almost immediately and was only saved from crimson red skin by Audrie – who had also fallen asleep – telling me to get in the lake to cool off our exposed skin. In her case, it involved some nudity that improved my day, thank you very much. Who knows, there were people camping on the peninsula. I’d seen and smelled their woodsmoke the night before. It drifted across the north-west finger of the lake, dispensing its wild incense wherever the light breeze pushed it. Anyway, maybe they were in on the treat, too. I couldn’t blame them, though. I’d be hard pressed to look away if I were them. I was hard pressed.

It was now high summer, and the lake was awash with distant echoes of children playing, doing cannonballs and swimming around without a care in the world. I missed that so much, both as a child and as a man. I had been deprived of these sacred sounds for nearly a decade because of an unfortunate series of events that ruined what was my greatest source of happiness, solace, and the feeling of emotional safety. But, as I closed my eyes and listened, those sounds were transported to the present. I opened my eyes and looked around and those sights were transported to the present. It was like a rebirth, our afternoon in the water was my new baptism into a new faith of home and of love, and of solace. I was safe again and could now fondly remember those summers spent with my grandparents in Dorset.

I recognize that I tend to go off on these tangents, but it’s important to me that you understand what my childhood was like, particularly my connection to my grandparents, and through them the lakes and woodland of Algonquin Park and the surrounding area. My love is tied to this land, it runs deep, and sharing that love with another person – Audrie – is a profound and precious thing. As I sit here writing this I am still unable to describe it accurately. Perhaps I should just stop trying, and let the place speak for itself.


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