My family knows that I am not comfortable with stopping. In fact, when we rented a cottage for a full week a couple of years ago, I had a near meltdown – the transition from business demands to being still, without having sightseeing available as a substitute, nearly brought me to my knees. I was ready to abandon the entire plan for our family vacation after 2 short days…
And so here I was, having made a commitment to stop for a week, and trying to find ways to enjoy the solitude and tranquility that our rented cottage on Lake Nosbonsing would offer us.
The term tranquility is an interesting one. On the face of things, one would assume that it refers to the external environment – completely dependent on the peace and quiet offered by others and the natural surroundings. Tranquility also refers to inner peace. In fact, it even points to the ability to live happily with oneself!
And so the success of this trip depended entirely on my attitude toward it…
We left Ottawa and drove westward bound on highway 17, not expecting to make a stop anywhere along the way except perhaps in Deep River for a quick pee. We did stop in Deep River for that purpose, but we also stopped to take a short drive into the core of the village itself. This detour was the first sign of a successful attitude shift – we would have normally felt pressure to minimize stops to get to our destination as soon as possible.
We happened upon a summer festival that was under way by the river, and even though we did not step out of the car to take it all in, the local traffic and parked vehicles forced us to slow down as we drove to the waterfront to observe the activities taking place. We enjoyed watching the villagers participate in the activities of the day, as well as seeing the preparations for the fireworks show to take place later that evening, and the boaters having already anchored and reserved their prime viewing spots for the show.
The reality of needing to arrive at the cottage before dinner time settled in, and we pressed on toward North Bay.
Not long after our stop in Deep River, we had yet another reason to pull over and stop, for there was an authentic specimen of nature right there if anyone was willing to take the time to observe. A moose was mere metres from the side of the road. Several cars had pulled over to take in the spectacle, and many had stepped out to commune with this great creature. Some had opined that it had come out of the woods to get away from the bugs, while others felt that it was suffering from dehydration. One women advanced to offer the creature food.
In the end, like so many other passersby, we took our pictures and pressed onwards.
The arrival at the cottage was highly anticipated, and met all of our expectations. We found our oasis amongst a heavily developed shoreline. The property was sufficiently wooded to provide us with a sense of solitude, yet with the knowledge that a city replete with big box stores was only 20 minutes away.
It did not take too long for us to become accustomed to our new surroundings. The sound of a loon would inspire us to stay in bed just a little longer as we stared out to the bay from our bedroom window. A gentle breeze stocked the water just enough to create a repeating pattern of dancing lights on the branches of the trees.
With coffee in hand, I made my way down to the dockside hammock and contented myself with watching this light display, as well as listening to the sounds of cottage life (children at play, work being done on properties, boating, swimming…) blending with those of nature. After a period of time, I decided that I wanted to preserve this liquid light for another day, and made the video clip that can now be seen here:
A small marsh can be found at the end of the bay. One morning, in the distance, I spied a pair of deer feeding on the water plants. I debated whether I should grab the camera and paddle out in the kayak (with which I had only been out once before) to get a closer look – and ultimately decided that rather than take a chance on spooking the animals, or worse, getting my camera equipment wet, I would just stay put and continue watching them from my hammock…
My trip was cut short by demands at the office, but I had already managed to make the most of it, having discovered the ability to stop.
With the car packed, we left the cottage content from the experiences that we had enjoyed.
We spotted a pair of deer while driving along Big Moose Road. This young male was my final prize as we made our way home…
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