In a few days, I’ll be starting a two-week road trip to Ontario, Canada.This will be my first long driving trip in years. It is also a journey that will mark a deep change. I’m going to Canada to scatter Nancy’s ashes. There it is. And…I need to pick up some boats. And fishing gear. And perhaps say goodbye to a lovely part of the planet that came into my life with her. If you are dialed into Jungian symbology, it’s a lot that’s all happening at once. So this posting is the first, the prelude to the dream, so to speak. I will write more as the journey progresses.
Port Loring is a small town, surrounded by lakes and rivers, an hour’s drive to the nearest supermarket, and the cabin is only reachable by boat. I think I traveled there seven times with Nancy, flying to Toronto, driving 4+ hours, then putting our boat in the water and motoring across Duck Lake to the cabin. It was a journey not worth doing unless we stayed at least a week. Opening the cabin was a full-day task, with a quarter-acre of vegetation to whack down, a ton of household goods to unpack, beds to make, lots of cleaning. We got married there, we rested and entertained friends and did craft projects and cabin maintenance. I became quite skilled as a plumber because of the Jones family cabin, and got tons of practice piloting small boats, towing water skiers, kayaking, picking berries…there was always something to do. No TV or cell phone service, few radio stations, intermittent phones and electricity.
The last time I was there was 2009, although Nancy and her sister Janet were there in 2010. No one has been to the cabin in four years, and I don’t know what I will find. Dock damage from the ice for sure — it was a nasty winter, and the lake had many inches of ice all the way across. The property will be overgrown, but the annual robin’s nest in the porch rafters should have chicks by the time I arrive, and I hope to find our canoe and kayaks in good condition. Miss Powassan, the 16-foot Giesler cedar-strip power boat that we bought in 2006, has been safely stored, and recently serviced, ready for the water. I hope to have a day to cruise for hours down the Pickerel River system, through a half-dozen lakes, and see all the lovely places one more time.
Sunrise from the cabin, absolutely quiet except for the occasional loon call. Below is the view from Miss Powassan’s cockpit, cruising the lakes on a cloudy day with showers.
Trip planning has been a pleasure, as we will drive through Idaho, Yellowstone, Montana, and east through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Sault Ste. Marie and into Ontario. Friends have been kind enough to let me stay at their place on the lake, so I don’t have to open the cabin or find a motel. We will dine at the Old Mirror Lodge, with longtime friends Verena and Urs Bartschi, who hosted my wedding party. This will be bitter-sweet, bringing Nancy’s remains to their final resting place, and releasing that most important part of her from my life. It will also be delightful, to be in this pure and beautiful place once more, and share it with Jen for a couple of days. I’m looking forward to the whole journey, even as it feels odd to return without Nancy. Duck Lake was always Nancy’s home, the one constant in an ever-changing life as an Air Force brat. And so it will be again, as her remains join the geology.