The swim I will remember in the heart of February

Monday, August 1, 2016

You know you're having the best week ever when the deck railing is strung up with damp beach towels – the best kind of bunting – your hair starts dreading with lake water, and the only thing on your to-do list is make docktails for happy hour.

And that is what my last week has been.

My little family rented a cottage on Buckskin Lake and I packed my cottage clothes (aka two bathing suits, my So You Think You Can Dance Canada track pants and my falling apart at the seams Orange Crush t-shirt) and dove head first into cottage living.

I swam at least once a day, took the canoe out (my kid's first canoe ride!), ate dinners cooked over a fire, ate my weight in s'mores, leapt off the dock with wild abandon at least 16 times a day, wrote with a view of a mama loon feeding her babies fish from the shallows, listened to Moose FM all day long, marvelled at the kadrillions of stars, and had the most delicious docktails every. single. day. (French 75s are my new go-to. Lemon, gin and prosecco? ALL THE YES!)

There was a family of loons that lived next door, frogs that enamoured my 17-month-old, water skaters that left tiny concentric circles on the water that from a certain angle looked like rain and a beaver that had team-meetings with the loons in the late afternoon.

The lake was deep and clear and remarkably warm. Every day I'd take off from the dock, cross the lake and swim along the far shoreline where there were no cottages, just Crown land. I'd tell myself the loons were busy napping and would stay clear of the lily pads so nothing pulled me under. One-two-three-breath and trees and trees and trees. One-two-three-breath and sky and sky and sky.

It is the swim I will do over and over again before I fall asleep in the heart of February.

I already miss the lake, the pace of my heart up there and I'm protesting being back by not washing one shirt that still smells like campfire and not washing the lake water out of my hair. I'll have to wash my hair one of these days, but I'm hoping that until the end of the summer when I lie down, I'll still be able to feel the lilt of the floating dock.

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