There is a “call” from Nature that is deeply rooted in many Canadians, especially during the summer. Beckoned out of our winter hangover, which lasts for 6 months, we are called to the lakes, trees, mountains and forests. Last weekend, I spent time at my cottage (or for non-Canadians – my cabin) just outside Barry’s Bay, Ontario. Set on a small island, on a beautiful fresh water lake, we found this little place 5 years ago on a visit to my relatives, who have a cottage on the other side of the island. The cottage was abandoned, in disrepair, and needed a lot of TLC! The process has been mythological at times – the call, the journey, and the transformation of the cottage into a place that is integrated with its surroundings. It is a continual work in progress, but there is a deep satisfaction in being part of the change that has taken place. It has been difficult, but rewarding to say the least.
A personal transformation also takes place as I cross the lake. All that “city thinking” dissipates in the wind a and a feeling of natural bliss takes over. I can feel it happening. One moment I am on the shoreline feeling damp and miserable because mosquitoes are buzzing in my ears and biting me. The next minute, I am on our motor boat midway through the lake and joy takes over. The lake is quiet. Nature makes its presence known through the wind and the waves hitting the boat. Like entering another realm of existence, a new state of being emerges. We have no electricity (except our neighbour lets us plug in our electric cooler for food), and no running water (we collect lake water in big jugs for washing up). We have to rely on “primitive” ways to live here – fire, a Coleman stove, and an outhouse. I love it!
I thought deeply about this experience this past weekend and I tried to figure out the difference between my city existence and my cottage existence. The only conclusion I came to was that Nature dominates in cottage country. There is a natural flow that is easy to follow when there are no schedules, or time limits, to adhere to. My body goes with this flow. Having no electricity for lighting helps me with the process of winding down for the evening. The morning sun tells me it is time to wake up; the heat tells me when it is time to swim. There is no concrete, no buildings, and no people in our view line – only lake, sky and thousands of trees. This life in Nature makes me become aware of how tired I feel from my busy-ness. My city brain has shut off and I am free just to be. This is also a place for my Soul – simple, quiet, and peaceful. I am grateful that this experience is possible for me. I am someone who needs to stare up at the sky, or look out on the lake for a long time. It is my form of mediation.
The city also has a place in my life and it, too, calls me back. I have to admit that there is a sadness I feel as I watch the cottage and beach disappear as we take the boat back to the mainland, but my Soul is rejuvenated and I carry this feeling back home knowing that I will return.