Where is it? a vacation at Uncle Toivo's cottage, near Perry Sound, Ontario
When is it? late summer, almost fall. You can swim but you need pj's at night
Who? the year is 1979. My parents, my brother, Auntie Pat and Uncle Toivo are there plus some other "family", some speaking Finnish, some English. The woodstove is roasting the turkey and a pie waits on the counter ... freshly picked berries.
What is happening? I am sitting on the couch, beneath the picture window, wearing shorts and a long-sleeved shirt since I just came up from a quick lake swim.
My hair is wet.
I am tired of hoping Eric will play with me again, so I got out the game with the owl on it and I am trying to play alone. I have never been able to figure this game out but I have always wanted to be a teacher; this makes me feel kind of like one.
I can't wait to eat the supper my mom and Auntie Pat have worked all afternoon to make. Friends and family will probably stop by later for drinks and cards. I will lie on the top bunk, complaining of the heat and driving my poor parents crazy. They'll say "Kris ... just go to sleep" at least a hundred times and my mom will give me a cool cloth to use for my face, my wrists, my ankles.
I can't stop whining. I am only eight you know, but I wish I was a teenager already.
The trees are already changing colour ... yellow, gold, red, orange and brown. I look at the rock edges, sharp, jagged, sparkling and fierce in their solidity. Eric and I love to climb them, sitting on hte mossy ledges that protrude out over Birr Lake. You can almost see the whole lake from any given point. If you are willing to sit still long enough, with some wild bird seed in your hand, a chipmunk will scurry over and eat right out of your hand. But, what is time at the cottage? Here, time stands still.
A lone loon passes by, unseen but not unheard. I wish I could write for you the sound he makes ... the beautiful, unmatched call found only up North, never back home in the city. I could sit up here all day; so could Eric. I am practicing being really quiet so he won't mind my tagging along ... I'm not allowed out of sight by myself.
I want to live here.
I have slightly worn jeans on now; floods, black rubber boots and faded cream and red sweater on. The sun is warming my face and the flat of my rock seat but it's not enough to make me feel sweaty. I partly want to see a bear but mostly pray I never will. My brother tells me all kinds of stories about things that only smart older brothers know, like how the big, green, metal barrel along the side of the road is where you can hear the people in China if you are patient enough and wait long enough ... standing and listening.
I am very patient.