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A surreal moment yesterday – sitting with my friend Ruth on an island in a lake in the Muskokas, right by the water, sand in our toes, the glorious landscape around us – rocks, trees, water. And she is on her cellphone, chatting face to face with one of her sons, who’s in Jerusalem.

What a world.

Lucky me, I’ve been invited to spend four days at Ruth’s heavenly cottage. My teaching term ended Wednesday night, just the garden workshop coming up and a bit of editing, but otherwise, the summer begins. We left at 12.30 yesterday, crawled up the Don Valley, and by 3.45 were in the water.

Ruth came to my Ryerson class years ago and has since continued to work with me and become a dear friend. She’s a fabulous writer, a star of the So True reading series. Eleven years older than I, she was recently widowed after 57 years of marriage. Her energy and drive make me feel lazy. She’s a reader, piles of fascinating books everywhere, and last night, after a day of pressing conversation, swimming, and a delicious dinner on the deck with lots of rosé, she suggested we watch the latest Ricky Gervais show on Netflix. So there, on an island in the middle of the woods, we did. “After Life” has been described as his darkest show yet, and it is, but here, in the sweet air, far from the news, nothing seems dark.

This morning – dragonflies, chipmunks, hummingbirds, the waves of Kahshe Lake slapping the shore. A huge heron just glided serenely past. Today, we will perhaps walk around the island; we will read and talk a lot and do some cooking and some swimming, though it may rain. I feel the pressure falling away. Yes, a noisy motorboat or six. But mostly – birdsong and dragonflies, so many of them.

My phone isn’t downloading the pictures – have to figure that out – so here’s yesterday morning instead. Yes, it’s the inner city, very few dragonflies, no waves, but can’t complain. My friends Carol and I hope Karen are there right now – their own cottage get-away, sort of. If only I could offer a lake.



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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