summer of becoming… meeting the extended family?

Sept 4, afternoon

I have been still for the last several hours now, curled up in this room-with-a-view in the lodge, pouring over a book on Algonquin Park’s human history. Much of her story I am quite familiar with, having been an insatiable lover of this place since it first touched that secret spot within me, making me come alive. If pure attention is the greatest expression of love, then my love of this place must be vast.

Perhaps this wanting to learn all-there-is-to-know about a place is akin to the way one yearns to more fully fathom a human lover, whose touch has also awakened both passion and possibility. Whiling away hours and days studying the other, diving deeper and ever broader, one is alternately curious, delighted, inspired, and even mourned at what is discovered. Voracious, each morsel of knowledge is digested and integrated, bit by bit, until it is as if that Other actually becomes you in the exchange, transforming your very being into something new. Algonquin is a part of me now in that way.

 Today, I am reading vignettes of human history, stories of regular people who have also been intimate with this place of water and land. It’s like getting to know the extended family.

I am still feeling a bit drained from the last few weeks and days, and so, though I hear her call, and a part of me longs to be out on that water today, I think I shall rest this afternoon. Be with her in a different way. I did paddle for just a bit this morning, an blessed hour in which I circled the large island, then made my way part of the way down the far shore before turning back.

Then it was back to help with the day’s cabin cleaning and laundry. (we are still without one of the staff) Tomorrow there will be many checkouts, as it is the end of the holiday weekend, and so I have been forewarned to be ready for a dawn to dusk day.

This is hard work! Not quite the respite I had yearned for, but I am settling into the routine, even beginning to appreciate the blessing in it. I do wish I had more time to go within, to have longer stretches of stillness and silence. That hidden bay on Magnetawan Lake calls to me … and yet, I know that to be there alone would require a physical vigilance of its own sort.

When I return from Algonquin later this fall, my husband will be having another surgery and I will be needing to provide physical care for him. I think perhaps I should sleep while I can!

The lake and the lodge are busy by Hay Lake standards, relative to what I am accustomed to during my more typical shoulder season visits. Quiet evenings and quiet waters are replaced by the conversations of guests by the fire , the distractions of diverse needs in the lodge,  and by motorboats and cottagers out on the water. So, perhaps, this is what Algonquin’s relatives look like. Not quite as noisy as that Muskoka side of the family, but still much different than the shy lover I fell for.

There is a family resemblance of course. If I narrow my awareness, squint my eyes, I can envision the features of her face in these more public waters. I can see the isolated lake, the natural shoreline, even hear the sounds of her deep silence in their voices.

It is interesting for me to notice here what it is that enlivens me, what it is that drains me. Surely, it is not the physical work entirely, for I can spend days portaging heavy gear across trails and paddling into headwinds, and I find myself eager to be back out there for more… to rest in her arms! This feeling of eagerness to be done with it is never one I have felt when leaving the backcountry. There, I am beginning to grieve the separation even before it occurs.  

I do think I will feel differently once I am back in my little cabin, even though that will mean stripping and washing the linens, cleaning the bath and the kitchen again. Still, being a houseguest can feel more tiring than that. Lol.

Ah, enough bemoaning.  Perhaps I shall go lie down on the earth for a bit.


Sept 5, Monday morning, awakening

I shall begin this day in grace.

I shall begin this day in gratitude

I shall begin this day in peace

I shall begin this day in stillness

… now off to the kitchen!


Monday evening.

Another full day, one which began at 7 o’clock this morning and has just ended now, at 7 in the evening, 12 hours later. I felt more energy throughout the day today, though, and feel more even now than I have. Perhaps the longer sleep (10 hours) of last night was much needed, or the long soak in bath salts before that, which eased my waning spirits – not to mention weary muscles and feet.  I ate a bit more last evening too. I’ve noticed that I have lost weight, almost 10 lbs, since I arrived here on the 24th of August. I must take care to nourish myself.

Speaking of that, tomorrow I have the whole day to myself! So perhaps the day will be one of rejuvenation and refreshment. I hope to paddle either to Drizzle Lake or Lower Hay. Perhaps I’ll pack a lunch, get off on an island somewhere. Oh, it will feel good to have more than a snippet of stolen time.

The temperature is warmer by the water this evening than it has been, and with so many guests checking out today, it feels suddenly quieter here now too….

I have nothing more tonight. Even my pen is quiet.

I hear the loon call, now, closer than I’d noticed before




1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Summer of Becoming – an algonquin affair

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