Tuesday, May 18, 2010


“Sometimes we are lucky enough to know our lives have been changed, to discard the old and embrace the new and run headlong down an immutable course. It happened to me . . . on that summer’s day when my eyes were opened to the sea.”  - Jacques Yves-Cousteau

Blue-green stretches of water, emerald islands scattered across this fluid canvas, and warm pine-laden breezes – when it comes to restoring body and soul, no place in the world can compete with Drummond Island. And few other places in the world can inspire one to explore, again and again, the tapestry that makes up a summer spent in the north; the rituals of family, the pleasures of friendship, and the immutable cycles of the natural world. There is a depth of feeling and wonder that lies at the very core of spending one’s summer Up North.

For me there is no sweeter pleasure than a summer day spent out-on-the-hook in Harbor’s big bay. I wake up early in the morning, squint up at the sky to see if the haze margin that promises a scorcher is smudging the horizon, pack a lunch, a hat, some sun block, snatch a bottle of water, and dash out the door. I inevitably run back for the book and bottle of wine I left on the table, then dive into the car and head down to Yacht Haven. My adrenaline is pumping in fierce anticipation, and finally – there it is: the jockeying for a parking space, the hunt for the cart to haul items down the dock and the first deep inhalation of diesel as the Up North’s engine turns over and comes to life. Bingo! All my senses are buzzing with the intoxicating elixir of the elements!

It’s WATER time!

Once anchored out in Harbor I take up residence on the deck – my head falls back unto a pillow. I angle my hat, adjust my sunglasses, open my book and settle into nirvana. Lord Bryon once wrote “There is society where none intrudes/By the deep Sea, and music in its roar: I love not man the less, but Nature more.” I would have to agree with this great swimmer wholeheartedly.

Once significantly toasted top and bottom I predictably dive into the water. Half submerged, at one with the aqueous mystery below; I bob around the boat, exposed to the sun and air from the neck up. I am on sensory overload, and I haven’t even broken any laws! I am the most content woman in the world. I surrender to the rhythm of the water and my mind goes as blank as the sky. I might swim a few strokes and then turn on my back to float, letting the energy of the water pass around and through me.

After a while I come back to the present, climb up on to the boat, and flop on to a towel laid out on the deck in a coma of bliss. I slowly drift off to sleep – the smile on my face the same as it was when I was a child and my eyes were first opened to lazy summer days spent out-on-the-hook.

“Summer afternoon – Summer afternoon – the two most beautiful words in the English language.”  – Henry James

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