alan skeoch
may 13, 2022


“Would you like to spend a couple of days at our cottage?”

That invitation sounded great.  A couple of days all to ourselves at
a Northern Ontario cottage.   Visions of gin and tonic served on a sunny
wood deck with a northern lake stretched out below with a dock and
motor boat and arm sunny evenings with a campfire and marshmallows.

Well we discovered that cottage life is not all its trumped up to be.
The cottage was high above the lake.   No deck.  Really it was
a garage built under a canopy of pine, cedar and tag alder.  Home
to a million blood consuming insects.  

The safest place was inside the one room cottage.  It was big enough
to park a car but not much more.  Yes it was really a garage.  Some itinerant
vandal had ripped the screening from the windows.  To open them was to
invite the little blood consuming creatures in for dinner.

There was one bed.  A place of safety as the sun settled and night
arrived  That’s when the mice came out.  Dozens of them scurrying
here and there as we snuggled down in our sleeping bag hoping
that no pregnant varmint had found the bag a good place to make
a nest for little creatures.  

We did not sleep. Nights in the north can get cold.  No stove in the
cottage unless a Coleman cooking stove would do.  We got it going
But would the Coleman
consume all the oxygen and leave us to die?  We made it
through the night OK.  The thought of a nice swim in the morning
allowed us to put the negatives of cottage life aside.

Well.  We were wrong.  The lake was not a lake really. Swamp would
be a better term…It looked like
a lake and I suppose far out from shore it became a lake.  But we
never reached the open water.  The water weeds were as thick as
a tropical forest.  And on the weeds were little slippery things called
leeches.  And other squishy things that moved as we trod our 
way out from shore.  Perfect hideout for snapping turtles we decided.
What would happen if a bare foot appeared in front of a snapper’s mouth?

I got my camera…waded out to Marjorie and got
a good shot of the cottage we would never forget.

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