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)  

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16 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. After the winter we had, it is a must to look forward. Just like I look forward to your visit in August……the dock and a cool libation awaits…..

  2. Remembering past joys is always a welcome activity LouAnn, as is looking to future ones. Where I err is obsessing on a past that I cannot change and scaring the bejeezuz out of me in a future I cannot control and that does not yet exist (if that particular future ever will). So, I continue to practice: Don’t look back. And don’t look too far forward because you’ll scare yourself.

    Focusing on this moment and the next is enough future for me. Taking a walk down Memory Lane…well, since I’m treasuring what I received, it’s always a pleasure! 😉 xoxoM

  3. Ooh, ooh, ooh, let’s go to “your” cottage now! I’ll pick you up in a couple of hours ok? Pack your bags and don’t forget the extra bag for chocolate and fruity alcoholic drinks :).

  4. I think our ‘past’ is always a part of our ‘present’… so yes it is incorporated…That’s who we are!
    Our son has a cottage that is not really winterized ie the water but they have a wood stove and so they go ‘often’ in the winter and in the summer though it is a 2 1/2 hour drive go almost every weekend
    (they do take some of their vacation in long weekends)… but their cottage is their ‘freedom’ and sanctuary….Diane

  5. You always describe things so well that I felt like I could see the cottage swimming just in front of me. 🙂
    I try not to look back for the most part but have recently discovered that sometimes looking back to the near past (is that even a phrase?) can be a very valuable lesson, especially when we’ve lost perspective in the present.

    • looking back at the good things is a nice way to navigate the present and the future

  6. This post painted a picture of happiness in my head, thank you for that

  7. The cottage sounds really lovely, glad you enjoyed your long weekend.

  8. Hey – can that be my cottage too? LOL
    We just observed Memorial Day in the US this past weekend.
    That marks an unofficial start of summer here.
    Today – is looking like the beginning of spring though. It’s 15C, gloomy & rainy. I’ll take it over snow though. 😉

    Happy Unofficial Summer! 😀

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