A Year, Remotely

A lovely, simple A-frame cottage. A tiny one. Nothin’ fancy. No bells. No whistles. A 20 gallon hot water tank. A septic tank. A tiny patch of trees. A wood stove – not installed according to the fire code. And a deck, screened in and looking out onto Lake Winnipeg. In the spring, summer and autumn you could here the sighing of the tide from just about anywhere in the cottage. The windows remained perpetually opened, as did the sliding door that leads out to the deck. A gentle breeze sang thru my bamboo chimes. And on some days, you could here that familiar, yet enchanting, flutter and hum of the hummingbirds, slurping up my offerings of fake red nectar.

People lived here only on the weekends. During the weeks, a silent hush descended on Silver Harbour. And then the gentle, shy does would emerge from their hiding spots. And … if you were lucky, you might spot the occasional stag – tho they seemed far more elusive that their female counterparts. Teeming with life — this silent, silver prairie nugget called Silver Harbour ~ 2.5 hours north of Winnipeg. Remote as remote gets. Coyotes, owls, eagles, pelicans and a certain yearling moose all called this place home. +/- expand post

Lake Winnipeg is the size of Switzerland. And though its only a lake, from my kitchen window in Silver Harbour it seemed like a vast, expansive sea. A walk along the narrow little beach at Silver Harbour revealed the tiny hoof imprints in the sand … our wild friends … visited the beach, too. And I knew, tho I never did see them, that they lurked about our yard in the deep stalk of night. Night time up @ Silver Harbour. Ahhhhh – pure, unadulterated night. A million plus starry beacons pepper the velvet sky. And … @ those certain times of year, mother nature’s spectacular aurora borealis light show forced me to drag my foldable camping chair outside, just to watch in silent awe and wonder.

I noticed the following, by virtue of their absence to the landscape. Starbucks, Blenz, and the rest of the frou-frou coffee shops on every city block. City blocks. Concrete phallic symbols – aka skyscrapers. Construction cranes dotting the horizon. And … oh, the horizon! One which you could see for miles and miles. Open to the possibilities that one could make for oneself. A lonely, empty horizon, beckoning new life. Silence abounded. Everywhere. It seemed I’d rode into a cell of still life. Nothing. Remote. No retail enterprises existed within walking distance. And I saw none of those beautiful and plastic shiny, happy people. You know? The ones that like containment … of life. The ones that tell us to stuff our raw, delicate emotions into rubbermaid containers, where we can no longer see or feel them. Well – I could see no shiny happy people in the vicinity. wysiwyg. I had entered wysiwyg land.

I failed to notice how alone, insignificant and powerless life still left me feeling, as I marvelled at the wonders of wysiwyg – remote rural life. Did I embrace this life change as fully as I believed? Perhaps … perhaps … I only embraced it as an escape from the status quo. The one I believed I left behind in Vancouver. However … one must often learn the hard way – status quo = oneself. Status quo cannot fall away from oneself through a mere change of scenery. Status quo can only fall away with an intense bout of molting. As in … a giant snake molting its skin. Life still felt like something happening to me … as opposed to ME, happening to IT.

I marvelled. At the silent simplicity of each day, as its petals unfurled. I marvelled. At the silent, steady and constant resolve of the people who dotted the landscape. I marvelled. At the gentle wisdom of the does and the stags, the elk and the coyotes … who shared their quarters with us humans, in this place. I wondered …. what words lay on the mouth of Lake Winnipeg, whom I could hear, sighing ceasingly, from the tiny cabin we would call home for the next year?

Hummingbirds fluttered in the background, like the beating of my unsettled heart, right outside my living room window. The matrix of nature – in its purest form – weaving itself masterfully, before my wondrous, weary and sad eyes. The icy breath of old man winter brought desolation, utter paralysis – a chilling silence, as the sighs of my friend, the lake, grew silent. Silence – a flawless reflector. of oneself. It strips a soul. Leaving it naked, defenseless against the elements. and so – I stood. naked. Shivering in the wind. Shuddering at my petty insignificance. For all the world to see. Dear Reader, that’s what remote living feels like.

~ Photos ~

the cottage – a view from the lake-side @ night.

the forest – thick, lush and vibrant.
just steps from our door.

if you watch them closely,
when they grace the night skies,
you can seem them dance electrically
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~ by frizzyscissorhands on June 4, 2008.

One Response to “A Year, Remotely”

  1. i hope the year lived remotely was a year lived mostly in peace ..

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