Goofs and Gadflies

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Pieces of Peace

The black Pontiac Pursuit cursed through the dark night. Pursing forward into the wilderness of Lake Simcoe. The minutes slowly add up on this journey away from the bright lights of the big city. Time begins to crawl ever so slowly to the base of twelve o'clock. The day had several false finishes. It seemingly had no discernable end. This day was going to stretch from my wake up call of six in the morning, all the way to the edge of midnight, and borrow some time from the day of the next. I never felt like I was running away from something while I beat a path to the North. Rather I was drawn to a body of energy that was familiar and intangible. I was returning to my mind and the beautiful memories that it holds. A temporal portal was my destination. A place so reverent and mystic that it was my connection to a lifetime of people passing through.

I have taken to finding comfort in the fleeting moments of peace in my life. They come in a multitude of places. Weeks ago I found myself at the cottage of an old friend. This was a chance to spend some time with mother nature, scotch, and a Sony Playstation 2. I arrived, de-camped, and properly debauched myself in an expeditious manner. Yes, I popped the 2001 Sonoma Coast La Crema Pinot Noir that I had been holding back for such an occasion. The occasion tonight? To properly prepare (inebriate) myself for a trip back into my mind and memories. The pure cherry and cedar aromas filled the glass and my two companions were taken aback by the structured complexity and fullness of a Pinot Noir. This was my magical mushroom to begin the trip I had left for.

After much laughter and mirth lasting into the wee hours of the morning we settled into bed. I woke up with a contented yawn. I made my way to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee in the hopes of rousing some company. Until then I ambled over to the cottage den looking for some inspiration in the misty morning's scenic display. Staring through the glass doors to the backyard of this waterfront property, my eyes gazed across a thirty foot long wooden porch. The sun was shining brightly and it was unseasonably warm for late October. The white caps of the water caressed the lake as they smoothly played their part in the process of the tides. A few boats can be seen off in the distance, not a lot of activity in the water on a weekend where no doubt the retreaters' of urbanity found other things to do in the city.

So here I am left alone with my memories. As my gaze draws inwards towards the deck, I begin to pour over each grain of wood. Searching the fibres of each plank for memories of people that once graced the cottage with their prescience. Sixteen years. Faces, empty bottles of beer with cigarettes in them, and wet bathing suits. Each table or chair holds a particular memory of someone saying something particularly memorable. The fire pit in the middle of the grassy lawn has roasted many a marshmallow and warmed the drunken faces of motley adventurers for over fifteen years. I have pictures, but they don't capture the smells and feelings like a memory can. I stand overwhelmed at a life lived in laughter and joy, of Kim Mitchell's "Patio Lanterns".

The weekend closes, the contents of which need not be recounted except to say that there is a policy of "cottage honesty". Aspects of my life I would not talk about anywhere else but at that cottage. It is a safe harbour. A Semitic confessional of sorts. I packed and moved some bags to the car. The trees spat leaves at my car in an inspired defiance. Bring it on winter, as if the trees were saying: "I am ready for you. I am tough and strong. These leaves don't define me and I throw them off in a display of strength. My core is, and will always be the branches and roots I have grown."

Amen to that.