Thursday, May 15, 2008


This is a strong country. The great rocks push up out of the earth, rounded and hard and powerful, made smooth by moss and lichens, they are like the muscles of the earth, like the core of the planet, pushed up out of the ground. Sun comes hard off the water, cutting diamond shapes on the waves, flaring off to get caught in the smokey dark barbs of the trees, dropping like shards down into the deep tangles of the bush.

The wind comes hard into this part of the Canadian Shield. It comes from out of the immense expanse of Lake Huron, ripping into the Georgian Bay, funneling into the bays and inlets and channels that punctuate the ancient grammar of this land. It is a hard wind, often cold, and it touches you, you feel the vastness of it, like it leaves its origin in your hair and on your face; a scent of snow and open water, even in the summer.

The trees bend against the wind, curving but not breaking, carrying their strength in their shapes, the branches blown back by the wind but still growing, still stretching out into the huge, overpowering sky.

Only three hours away from Toronto, the Georgian Bay seems another world sometimes. You can breathe here, feel that great wind and you can stand up on high on a rock or on a dock or in a canoe and you can hear .... The wind in the trees, brushing the pine needles like a conversation; the sussurus of waves on the sand beach; the call of loons that vibrates up your spine like an electrical current; the lapping of waves against a wooden dock, a gentle sound that seems so loud, as loud as music, as quiet as the movement of blood under your skin.

Springhaven Lodge, in Pointe au Baril Ontario, is a very special place for my family unit. This is Collette's home. Her father started the lodge 40 odd years ago and his sons run it to this day. This is where Collette grew up; a little blond haired kid and her yellow lab pretty much living in the water.

This is also a special place for Miss Hayley. She has been coming here her entire life. Playing in the water, racing through the bush, discovering snails on the beach, racing up to the road to Uncle Dennis' house for some goodies from Aunt Kay in her kitchen. I've cut a little video compilation of some of Miss Hayley's early moments at the lodge. This video spans a couple of years; you can see the progress of her coat as she ages.

Things have changed at the Lodge, our lives have changed but it will always be a special place for us and no matter what the future brings we will have the memory of this land and when we need to, we will be able to close our eyes and feel the great wind against our face.

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