Some places and spaces always feel like home, whether it's the smell of laundry hanging on the line, or the crackling of the campfire. For me it’s the simple indulgences in life that fill my soul. Such as the rundown, creaking, and humble cottages sitting on the fringes of Arden, Ontario. Situated amongst the trees and engulfed by the lake, a familial oasis exists. Memories flood my mind of the traditions our Coleman family engage with each August: two weeks, zero cell service, non-existent showers, just the open lake and simple living. Time is arbitrary up north, waking up to the crisp lake air with a cup of coffee in hand as you step out onto the rickety dock. Where afternoons roll around and adventurous times begin, everything from bocci to fishing, leading the day to unravel into a family potluck. As dusk reaches its peak, the hissing of the fire echoes over the lake and the sweet smell of smores consume the air. Once again the fun does not stop, cousins draw near to play games. Sardines or herbivore, omnivore, and carnivore are on the docket. Being young and free, hiding our fears and anxieties of the world to cut loose for a moment. Recalling these memories only remind me of easier times when social media wasn't ingrained in our lives and the pressing issue to face was if you should walk two miles to get candy or not. I was a simple kid, daring to take risks, finding comfort in life's wonders. Daring to go cliff jumping? Sign me up. Swim to the middle of the lake? I’m in.
Although this timeless place continues to have open arms, the current pandemic halts my endeavours to marvel in its beauty. Being stripped from my autonomy I rely on my memory to recall my lessons learnt. Such as the importance of discovering your inner child, partaking in any wild and wacky idea to set your soul on fire. Or maybe the notion of appreciating the company of loved ones. The cottage, my quaint retreat for all 20 years, inevitably etcht its lessons into my soul. Teaching me that not all things need to be shiny and new, that the greatest moments in life are the ones spent with loved ones, and no one ever forgets memories forged over familial bonds. This space became a meeting place to share in love and laughter. This August will be seldom, empty cabins, no Colemans insight. The water will remain calm and the air will be anosmic as the scent of campfire is absent. Will this oasis miss our mark? The northern pines will stand sturdy awaiting our arrival and my memories will spread across the campsite like morning dew upon the grass.