Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I've been out of sorts.  While many exciting things have been happening (all good and wonderful) I hadn't been to the cottage until this past weekend.  Somehow, with all that's been going on (coupled with terrible Spring weather) it got to be mid-June without a visit to my favourite place on the planet.  Last year our cottage season began in April and lasted through Thanksgiving, so there's time to make up for.  

I realized this weekend that I don't often feel relaxed.  That's not to say I feel particularly stressed out at any given time, but there's a certain base-level tautness caused by living in a city like Toronto.  Whether or not we're fully aware, the sights and sounds burrow their way inside and elevate heart rates, accelerate anxieties.  While I love it and thrive on the activity of big city life, I'm increasingly more comfortable where it's quiet.  

I love the silence that's possible here.  I love zoning-in on a single noise and wondering to myself, "Now, is that frogs, or birds?  Bugs?"  I love going to sleep early and waking up sooner, too.  If it's true that our senses are connected, then I like the way quiet smells.  I'm comforted by the sound of water lapping up under the dock.  I like the moment at dusk when the lake goes still and glassy, something to do, I can only assume, with the moon and tides, things much bigger than us.

I like not doing my hair and forgoing style for ease and comfort.  I like playing Yahtzee! during that hour when mosquitoes make sitting outdoors impossible.  I like drinking cheap coffee and eating good produce.  I like watching Jeff chop wood, build fires.  I like knowing that, if need-be, he will figure things out.  While he might not have the skills, he has the bravery-in-spades to protect me, be it bears or bats or bugs all up in my shit.  And I like that.

I like poking around in the trees just beyond the cottage, noticing a trunk battered with tiny holes.  I like the moment in the day when the woods get dark, but their outskirts are bright. The forest makes me feel like I'm 10 years old, curious, with the ability to feel mesmerized again.  So rarely are we mesmerized. 

I like feeling stuck on our little island, my priorities quickly-clear at the thought of a boat, and a car, and a drive out of the woods to fetch whatever it is I think I might need.  I need nothing.  


  1. I could do nothing but sigh dreamily as I read this.

  2. I really love the way you put your thoughts on paper and your pictures silently finish your story. Beautiful.

  3. such an amazing endnote to the NYC series; words and images are pretty darn exceptional, sir. keep it up. xo

  4. I could feel every word you wrote here, Jason. The beauty of quiet knows no bounds.

  5. couldn't help but exhale while reading. nice buddy.

  6. Makes me miss our cottage summer so much! Well said...

  7. Oh, so gorgeous. As always. I'm green with envy.

  8. REALLY gorgeous post. So nice reading your writing. sometime I feel like we're all so busy and we don't really know the reason why? (sorry if I sound all oprah)

  9. This is just lovely, all around.

  10. I loved your observations on the cognitive 'feast and famine' faced by many an urban dweller, but you stopped me dead with the image of Jeff chopping wood. I am now silently in awe of him.

  11. I love everything about this post and cannot decide what is better: The pictures you take or the words you use.

  12. jealous. I know we have a cottage, but we also have lots of neighbours and disrespectful beach people who play loud bass from their stupid cars and jetski all up in our grill. I guess when I am experiencing all this I'll have to imagine the stillness of a forest certainly can paint a picture!

  13. Beautifully written!
    Great pictures.
    Love the woods.

  14. so enchanted I love love too

    brazilian hugs

  15. Your words and pictures make me want to retreat to somewhere like this. Great post.

  16. I love this makes me feel like I need more peace and quiet in my life. Beautiful!

  17. j'adore! couldn't agree more.

    When despair for the world grows in me
    and I wake in the night at the least sound
    in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
    I go and lie down where the wood drake
    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought
    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day-blind stars
    waiting with their light. For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
    — Wendell Berry