Monday, June 28, 2010

Brain drain

The first morning at the cottage I spent a half hour on the dock watching a duck paddle along the shoreline preening himself and feeding on whatever it is ducks scoop up when their little white bums are pointing to the heavens.

A half hour, just sitting there.

I had a book in my lap - I was prepared to be mildly productive - but instead I sat in the sunshine and watched a duck.

For the next half hour I lay on my tummy with my head over the edge of the dock watching the fish while they watched me. I put my palms on the surface of the water, feeling the cool. I examined the strange, greeny-peach of my skin when submerged. I kept an eye out for dock spiders. I heard the whistling thrum of wing beats as birds flew above me.

I heard everything. Even the tiniest sounds were magnified by the absence of the constant ambient noise I'm so used to here in the suburb where careless sounds crash into me all day long.

I breathed in. I breathed out.

We made fire. And we used that fire to cook marshmallows which, of course, we paired with chocolate and graham crackers.

I cleaned my sticky fingers in the lake.

I marinated in bonfire smoke.

I listened to forest creatures scurry in the underbrush.

I trained my flashlight on the bush looking for bear eyes every now and then.

I waved to an old couple in a passing boat - the only people we ever saw.

I watched the sparks fly high into the dimming night sky.

I got eaten alive by mosquitoes who took the absence of bug spray as an invitation to dine on my exposed ankles and toes.

I used bonfire tending skills I learned from my grandpa, passing them on to My Beloved.

I thought about those bonfires of the 70s - at a cottage, now long gone, not far from this one - and about those who will never again sit by the shores of a lake listening to the cracks and pops of a roaring fire.

I resisted the melancholy.

I laughed at My Beloved while he put his camera and hair in mortal danger in an effort to capture the perfect fire shot.

I relaxed as much as it was humanly possible for me to relax after months of being tied up in knots worrying about my dad - who continues to defy the odds by being here.

I broke the silence. I called to check in every day but one.

It was necessary if I was to continue to breathe.

And I did. Fresh, clean, quiet air.

Too short. Too short.

Wish I was there.


Mrs. Spit said...

I got to the end, and I let out the breath I was holding. I didn't even realize I had been holding it.

Thank you for this.

loribeth said...

You make me wish I was there too. Especially after the week this city has had! Hope you get to return soon!

Illanare said...

Just lovely.

Claire said...

Gorgeous! I wish I was there now too.

Love the new look to your blog :)

Ruby said...

I wish I was there too!

Glad you got away.

Hennifer said...

I love this new layout. It is so soothing. I love the photo of the bonfire and I am happy to read your words