Monday, August 08, 2005

Return from Cottage Country

Family Mad has just returned from cottage country where we soaked up blessed sights and sounds unknown to most harried city dwellers. The cry of the loon is of course foremost of these sights and sounds, but there are others. The thrum of millions of blood hungry mosquitoes among them.

For in the wild, just as in the city, there is intense competition for survival, not unlike the life and death struggle we see played out on the sidewalk and roadway beneath my office window in Toronto. From my office vantage point there I can see pedestrians with canes and those geriatric walker thingees competing with honking automobiles, reckless skateboarders, speeding in-line skaters, and high performance electric wheelchairs in a grand dance macabre. The sirens of firetrucks, police cruisers and ambulances compete for the eardrum's attention, while the true masters of the urban cacophony call out, "Hey buddy, spare some change."

So it is as well on the pristine lakes of cottage country.

The young offspring of the adult loons, unable as yet to dive beneath the water's surface for safety lay, lie hunched in the water praying to whatever feathered God loons pray that they be spared death by speedboat or Seadooers. (I tell you most solemnly that King Solomon in all his glory was not as elegant as a contemporary yellow-breasted Seadooer winging his narcissistic way across the waves.)

Majestic adults loons cry their ancient throaty call, flexing their wings towards the human invasion force screaming the Loon equivalent of, "Take me. Take me. Not my young" ....... noble gestures scarce heard, or noticed, by the grim water skiers and grinning tubing enthusiasts from Etobicoke or the Annex.

At eventide the waters calm as the wind dies and boaters dock their vessels, scrambling for beer coolers and cd players to comfort already over-stimulated libidos. The loons begin to relax on the lake just as the first fireworks burst above the white pine skyline shrieking and booming the civilian cottager's unconscious tribute to the old military sunset ceremony. Boat wake's subside and shoreline damage temporarily ceases as rock music rises and the freckled human young sit transfixed before flaring campfires, sharpened marshmellow sticks at the ready.

Above it all the Milky Way splashes its way across the emerging night sky, a wonder un-beheld, but for a few souls with cricked necks staring skyward in wonder, while slumped in faded Muskoka chairs out on docks smeared with dew worm guts.

And if you sniff the air carefully you can detect the faint faded aroma of level 50 sun screen with coconut oil, guaranteed to stop the rays of earth's own star from ever reaching human melanin, if applied at the rate of a pint of lotion to an inch of skin (or is that a kilo-pascal of sunscreen to a kilohertz of torso? ... metric is so confusing don't you think?).

We must have enjoyed our cottage experience. We have smiles on our still pale faces and my personal stress lines are a tich less prominent.

I lay me down to rest a while to rise and fight again.



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