You may have noticed the photo in the banner of my blog. I took this shot last summer, standing near the edge of a small lake in the Haliburton Highlands.
For the past several summers, Sweetie and I have been escaping work and the city for a couple of weeks. We head to a log cabin which overlooks the lake in the photo. There is no television reception, no phone, no internet. The cabin is on 10 acres of land. It’s all forest except for a small clearing for the cabin. Around the perimeter of the lake are only half a dozen cottages and ours is in a small bay. The shoreline is untouched. There are no motor boats. No water skiers. No distractions.
It’s quiet. Calm. Profoundly peaceful.
Our days there have a gentle sameness which anywhere else I might find boring. Sweetie is up first, makes the coffee. I stumble downstairs. We sit on the deck with a book, waking up to bird music. Chipmunks and squirrels chatter in the trees above us. Every year there’s a woodpecker tapping out a staccato beat. Our biggest decision for the day is what’s for supper. If we’re feeling ambitious, we do a quick run to town for a newspaper. Just to make sure we haven’t missed something major. And for Sudoku and the crossword.
By noon, we pack some lunch, our books, hats, sunscreen, puzzles, camera, towels and head to the lake, a short hop down the hill. We settle on the dock. Chatting when something strikes us. In and out of the water, cold and clear. Reading, napping, tackling the puzzles. Staring into space. Watching the clouds change shape or a loon fishing on the lake. The shoreline vibrates with life. The dragonflies land close. The afternoon drifts by.
The evenings are as lovely. A quiet dinner with music and candlelight on the screened porch. Maybe a few rounds of cribbage. A rented movie we’ve not yet had time to see. A bonfire with a few marshmallows. A swim under the stars.
I meditate. I can breathe. I fix the images my mind.
Our two-week idyll must last me for the next fifty weeks. I carry it with me into a busy home and working life and bring it back when clouds of stress threaten.
At home, we have a room we call, The Quiet Room. We have the luxury of such a room because we are empty-nesters with a four-bedroom house. When Youngest Daughter moved out, we ripped out and replaced the carpet, painted the walls a soft mauve and furnished the room with a pine table, a deep blue sofa. The walls carry a couple of restful black and white photos and a canvas of snow-covered evergreens that reminds me of my mother’s back yard.
I use this room to meditate. For massage therapy. Sometimes for exercise (but not often enough). Sometimes just to sit and be quiet. To think. Or, depending on the need, to let my mind wander.
The Quiet Room lets me return to the lake no matter the time of year. It’s an easy place to bring back the images, feel again the sun on my skin and hear the buzz of insects. To settle into the restorative calm. I rest for a brief moment. And I can breathe once again.
We are headed to the cottage in a week. I write in sweet anticipation.