Cool, Cool Waters
Nestled in the Gatineau Hills lies a lake so significant that federal politicians named a package of ill-fated amendments to the Constitution of Canada after her ― Meech Lake. For years she has been my summer companion, beckoning me to her waters. And I answer her call, navigating narrow, twisting roads in my Matrix to her shoreline. Each visit feels like coming home. I open my tiny concert chair and place books and writing pad to my side. I chat with my neighbours, familiar faces I have come to know over the years ― many of them hardy Russian and German women who swim from May to October in nothing more than thin, stretchy bathing suits. We chuckle as we watch athletes wiggle into full body wet suits. I alternate between reading, daydreaming, chatting and writing. Then, when I can no longer stand the pounding heat, I get up, kick off my flip flops, strap my buoy around my shoulder, snap on my goggles and inch into the lake. I take a deep breath and hurl myself forward. “Oooff“. The shock of cold water takes my breath away. Then I am off, transformed from awkward land mammal into nimble water baby. Alternating between the breast stroke and the crawl, I motor away from the shoreline until beach chatter becomes fainter and fainter. Gradually, all I hear is the sound of my own breathing ― no mind, no thought, no worries. Just the echo of my heart and the splashing of arms and legs. I stop, flip onto my back and gaze up into a perfect blue sky. A distant hawk circles slowly above. Surely, if there is heaven on earth, this is it.