Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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.

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