A few of the guys I went to elementary and high school with get together at a cottage for a few days every summer. We are a group of men who are very similar and yet very different. I am struck every year, how competent and accomplished they are (in ways our society does not reward) and how easy going and open minded they have remained.
We eat and drink a little too much, talk into the night and do a lot of laughing. There is fishing (they all go back), hiking, canoeing and kayaking (thanks to yours truly). We sit around the fire and listen to the coyotes’ howl. We have played cards and games, but they usually degenerate quickly into insults and silliness.
They are good friends.
The shallow little lake at the foot of the Bruce Peninsula we stay at is an ecological marvel. Loons, frogs, pike, bass, bears, coyotes, deer, cranes, plovers, crayfish and at least twenty different kinds of biting insects (I think) call this place their home. We are lucky to have the chance to see it up close for the time we have. Perhaps sometimes we aren’t as appreciative or protective of the environment around southwestern Ontario as we should be because most of us live in the city. I hope Beattie Lake never changes.
And I hope you have a version of this in your life. That the friends you have continue to be there for you and you for them. And that you have a place you can go with them that allows you to appreciate each other and life in all its exquisite beauty and frailty.
Here is a poem I wrote about thinking about the trip:
Hard faces in light and shadow.
Flame and heat separate and bind.
Howls in the forest,
Calls on the lake.
Wood smoke like history remembered.