Thursday, July 22, 2010

You really have to want to get to the cottage.

It's been in my wife's family since 1944.  Story goes that the place was a "kit" bought with logs already cut and ready for assembly.  The logs and all the fittings were dropped on the property on the shoreline of Lake Huron in the northern part of the Canadian province of Ontario.  Over the years, it's been expanded and refreshed, brought up to date in some senses of the word, but still has it's original charm and is a simple, restful retreat.

Where I came from, we'd probably have called it a cabin, but it's not a cabin.  It's a cottage.  Don't make me have to tell you again. :)  Cottage.

As I said, it's a hike to get to the cabi....cottage.

We flew from Houston to Newark, changed planes and flew to Buffalo, NY then drove the five and a half hours to our destination.  We got there about 8:30 PM and there was still an hour of daylight left!

The cottage getaway is all about rest.

I've taken many a vacation and come back more weary than before but not a the cottage.  The cool nights were a great relief from the brutal summer we're having in Houston.  It's not hard to sleep 8 or 9 hours every night.

We fell into the cottage routine pretty fast.  Get up, coffee on the patio, watch the water, watch the wind (yes, I said we watched the wind), quiet time of reading and praying or just meditation on the simple things and the peace of a little slower pace.  Sweet conversation, gratitude, breakfast, walks by the water, lunch, nap, repeat.

The last couple of times I've been there, I've been challenged by the cool clear waters of Lake Huron knowing there had to be some great fishing somewhere within the reach of the little v hull boat with a 9 horsepower motor.

Just off the dock, you can see the rocky bottom of the lake.  The water is clear and fresh.  If you ever work up a sweat around there, all you have to do is walk out, knee-deep into Huron and cool off.  To completely submerge takes a few minutes of ramping up your nerve knowing it's gonna be a painful cold at first, then a great refreshment.

At first, I just used minnows for bait, cast off the dock and caught a handful of perch that were only a little bigger than the minnows. Still fun.

I used to be into bass fishing.  Had the rig, the tournament boat with the capacity to run 70 mph across these southern lakes. Serious fishing entertainment.  But when my kids lost interest or were distracted by other things and the boat would sit for weeks without touching the water, I let it go.  And yes, it's true what they say about boat owners - the two best days are the day you buy it and the day you sell.

So this "perch jerking" wasn't really doing it for me.  But it was still great to be on the water making the play.  In my boating period, I could go out and throw all day and it didn't matter how many fish I caught.

Finally, I fell on the formula and caught some good fish.  It's been 40 years since I caught, cleaned and ate the catch.  I had to go on youtube and refresh my memory on how to fillet a fish without leaving bones everywhere in the meat.  Geez.

But out of this beautiful water, the fresh catch was amazing.

The trip home took 14 hours.  It seemed like a clip from "Trains, Planes and Automobiles" but we rolled back in to Houston about midnight.  Even at that hour, walking off the plane into the jetway, the thick, humid air smothered us.

Re-entry into real life took a few days.

The cell phone that really didn't work at the cottage was full of "important" messages.  The mail was stacked up.  Urgent!  Urgent!

It's amazing how quickly you can be overwhelmed by minutia.  I'm thankful to have had some time to be quiet, be still, enjoy the simple things of life and God's rich blessing.

And I hope wherever you are and whatever is going on in your life, you'll be able to grab some down time, even if it's in your own back yard or sitting on a park bench.  And remember there are people alive and breathing all over the planet this very moment that have chosen to live simple lives.  Some of them have no real choice.  Their options are limited but  in all corners, people are happy and at peace.

My prayer for you is that, with much or with little, you'll be at peace.




Keith Shields said...

I am glad to hear that you find time to rest and recreate in Canada. It is a long way from where I live in Vancouver but I am glad you have found a place of hospitality this side of the border.

Dave Rollins said...

Glad you had some rest. Having grown up in Michigan I was always told there was a difference between a cottage and a cabin. As best as I can figure a cottage was near a lake and owned by someone that I thought was rich. It had electricity. A cabin was somewhere way out in the woods. May not have electricity, or water, or sewer, or much of a way to get there. Ah the good ole days.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you had a great vacation.We went to Port Aransas for a fishing tournament my husband was hosting. My girls and I went for the beach,shopping and great seafood and meeting lots of interesting people.The wind was kicking a bunch of waves. My husband brought his surfboard from high school days and gave our girls some surfing lessons. They did pretty well. We all came home tired, happy and with lots of great family memories. It sounds like you did too. I hope your concert at dosey doe went well. Hang Ten!