Opening the Cottage

Just a note to those reading this who are not from Canada: this last weekend was a long weekend in Canada when we celebrated Victoria Day and it is our “unofficial” first weekend of summer ~ this is my column for the week:

The unofficial first weekend of summer is almost over as I write this, and I no longer have to open “the” cottage only in my imagination. No, I do not own a cottage, but my sister Peggy, and brother-in-law, Herb do, and they do not mind me referring to it as “ours”. They are pretty safe in letting me refer to it as partially mine as it is nine hour away as the crow flies, or this being Kingsville, as the Canada goose soars. Twelve if you get lost, or are a hummingbird. We got “lost” last summer having read the instruction we got off the internet incorrectly. 12.0 km is a lot different than 120 kilometres. Just saying…….

I have only been to “my” cottage twice, once last August and about a month and a half ago when the lake was still frozen over, and there was still some snow on the ground. It is a year round cottage and Peg and Herb, being only an hour away from it, use it year round. While that luxury is open to us, the nine hour trip makes it not quite as palatable for a weekend trip. We could have gone up this first unofficial long weekend of summer—and gotten in on Saturday night, spent Sunday there, and then turned around and come back on Monday morning—but it did not seem quite worth it. Maybe when we get our private plane…..after we win the lottery.

The cottage is set on an Eco lake, which means you can paddle on it to your heart’s content, or use an electric motor on a dingy. So it is lovely and quiet. Last August on the last day of our vacation I sat on the end of the dock with my sister as we dangled our bare feet in the water. It was idyllic, and this year, in August I intend on doing the same, except on the first day of vacation and every day thereafter. When I was there in early April, we did not dangle our bare feet off the dock—as the cottage is in Quebec, about an hour outside of Ottawa, and they have true Canadian weather up there. The lake, though still frozen, was beautifully serene.

Looking out over the frozen lake, with bits of snow in the tree branches was a different experience than my summer visit. But with a fire going in the wood stove (backed up by electric heaters in each room) it was cozy and welcoming. We were “recovering” from a memorial we had attended a few days earlier for our brother John, and the cottage was healing in a way. The summer before he had made the trip up to the cottage and we reminisced about sitting on the deck and laughing and eating and drinking, and generally having one of the times of our lives we would look back on fondly.

The cottage is open and airy, and slightly rustic in that the wood floors are painted white and the beams are exposed—but it has all the amenities of home. And because it is my sister’s, it is decorated impeccably. She has the eye of an interior decorator, and taste similar to mine, so of course I think it is faultless. Vacationing at the cottage is a true vacation. And since the cottage is not truly mine, I do not have the worries, concerns, cleaning, or bills associated with ownership. Plus Peg and Herb fete us like royalty when we are there, and cocktail hour usually begins with the words “it is five o’clock somewhere”.

I am sure all of us brought in “summer” in a different way this last weekend. And even though the weather this week is more spring than summer, we have had a taste of the warm months to come. And whether you opened your real cottage, lay claim to someone else’s, or are content to go to that lovely cottage in your mind, I think we all bid summer a hearty welcome. What lay ahead are picnics and barbeques, festivals and fairs, and for us, a trip to “the cottage” in August.

Living in the moment seems to be the modern mantra, but remembering good things from the past, and looking forward to good things in the future cannot be discounted.

Should we limit ourselves to just living in the present–or have we learned that lesson well enough to start incorporating the past and looking forward to the future?

Published in: on May 20, 2015 at 12:57 pm  Comments (16)