I glide. I listen. Glorious silence. The lake inhabitants (cottagers) are mostly still dreaming.
My brother-in-law and I are both early risers and we slip away before anyone is awake. Stolen time.
He is the perfect kayak companion, willing to maintain long chunks of silence but for the odd word of delight over the treasures we discover.
We slide past an island where great carpets of moss fold over the floor of the forest, glowing fluorescent lime green. Sunlight filters through the canopy creating dancing designs on the carpet. We call it the Enchanted Forest.
We find a quiet cove where 150 year-old tree stumps give evidence of the logging that occurred here in the last century before the river was dammed to create this lake. We allow our imaginations to reveal faces and other images in the ridges of the rotting stumps.
In another small bay we spend ten minutes watching a lone duck feed and preen. We are sufficiently still that the duck seems to forget us and goes about its business.
“Remember to breathe”, I remind my companion. And myself.
Amid such beauty, it is easy to forget.
Reluctantly we move on.
We paddle into another area where the water has a tablecloth of blooming lily pads. We can feel them caress the skins of our kayaks as we float over them. Eerie scratching sound vibrates through the kayak and into my being. The plants seem unfazed by our intrusion, subtly floating into place as we pass. I pick one blossom to share with the sleepyheads back at the cottage.
In some calm areas, we marvel at the waterbugs flitting over the surface of the water, parting like so many loyal subjects as our kayaks flow through their picnics.
We chat briefly about how soul-filling these surroundings are and how we all need more of this connection to nature.
I suggest that his search for a new career/retirement job could be right under his nose with photo and story opportunities so rife in this environment. He agrees to entertain that possibility.
On our way back we spy a giant snapping turtle sunning himself on a large boulder. He looks like a garden sculpture. If he hadn’t slipped into the water I would still believe he is made of stone.
We return to our now-worried family at the cottage with our tales of the wonders they all missed. Our narrative is woefully inadequate; such moments must be touched, tasted, seen, smelled, and heard.
Our smiles prove that a small piece of our burden was lifted from our shoulders in that two-hour jaunt along the shore of an island in a lake in Ontario. If only everybody could experience that!
That little kayak trip is now in my library of magical moments of my life.
I urge you to seize opportunities to connect to nature on a regular basis. It will give you the silence you need to think through your problems. It will alter your outlook of the world.
With thanks to Cindy and Don for sharing their piece of paradise with us.