Sunday, August 2, 2009

3 days at flo's

Just 2 weekends ago I was on my way up to Port Albert with Jan and Pam (members of the council) for a fun-filled 3 days at Flo’s place.

Our first day was a beach day for sunning, swimming, and summertime novel reading.

We rode our bikes to the “zoo” to visit Janet’s peeps, the sheep, who last year confirmed her as one of their own when, to our amazement, they called out “Jaaa-aaa-aaa-neeh-eeh-eet” (swear to God it is true!). The animal refuge is filled with llamas, alpacas, goats, elks and sheep and as we sped away to beat an oncoming storm 2 young alpacas gamboled alongside us.

Later that day we visited Jan’s sister’s cottage to meet up with her sister Bub, daughter Rebecca, nephew Bill, his wife Andrea and their 18 month old son Duncan. It blew my mind when I realized that Duncan is the fourth generation to make sand castles on this very beach in front of this same cottage.

As we toured the cottage Bub showed the many quilts adorning the beds (Glyn, I thought of you then; you would have loved them!). As she traced her hands over each quilt she fondly recounted the story contained in each piece as naturally as if she’d put a stylus gently upon a record and I realized that the appeal and magic of the quilt is that they contain the visual and tactile history of events in the lives of the quilters.

Each morning the others joined in my daily ritual of drawing from the Journey to Kanaka Makua cards to see what the tone of the day would bring. Then we’d retire on to the deck to take in the sun. There I’d do yoga while the others were guided by Florence in her famous face exercises.

I was banned from her class a number of years prior due to uncharacteristic, horrible, uncontrollable, heckling behaviour on my part. I admit I did sneak in a facial gesture or 2 as I did my yoga poses and, after owning up to my behaviour and humbly confessing that Florence has shown unexpected dedication and sincerity in her practice of the face exercises and that the results are indeed remarkable, was welcomed to participate. Once our faces were sufficiently stimulated we sat with our coffee, smoothies (left-over pizza in Pam’s case) and planed our day.

In Kincardine and Goderich we perused used book stores, shoe stores and a quilt shop. My stamina for shopping is no match for that of the others and I enjoyed looking in the shop windows or just hanging out on the street while they lingered. Soon I was corralled into a shoe store to see the shoes that Jan and Pam agreed “were meant for you. We thought of you as soon as we saw them. You have to get them.” They fit me as surely as the glass slipper was made for Cinderella… and they were in the bargain rack for $10.

Best thing, I didn’t have to sort through stacks of stuff to find them. I love it! These women are not only my best friends; they’re also my personal shoppers!

I spent the rest of the afternoon mincing all over the cobble stoned streets of Kincardine in my high heeled gemmed beauties, jeans, hoodie and sunglasses – the epitome of celebrity shabby shiekness.

After returning to Flo’s, so that Pam could pick out just the right “flying outfit” to set the mood, we headed out to the local airstrip for her first flying lesson. Those who know and love Pam can well imagine the permanent smile plastered on her face and enthusiasm that oozed out of her every pore in anticipation.

This last night of our stay found the gods blessing us with a glorious clear sky which had just a few hours prior been filled with grey menacing thunder clouds. This was the perfect setting for Pam’s maiden voyage in the Diamond Canata 2 seater plane at 8p.m. The pilot described it as a race car with wings so we all know that Pam was thrilled and in her element.

I was enlisted as the official photographer for said historic event and hopefully Pam will allow me to post some in a future entry. Since Pam can’t take a bad pic there will be plenty to choose from.

I didn’t get to bed til 2 a.m. that night but rose in time to bike down to the lake for one last swim. At 8:30 a.m. I was the only soul on the beach for miles! In this area of Lake Huron the cottages are mostly older and modest, set well back of the beach. The water level is up very high and the blue-green, grasses native to the area are coming back, encroaching on the beach. Much of the shoreline is pebbled.

As I walked along the beach the crystal clear aquamarine water lapped on to the shore, propelled by a gentle wind, following the contours of the shoreline. I became mesmerized by the sound of my breath, the rhythm of my foot falls and the ebb and flow of the wavelets which traveled along the length of the angle of the beach providing the perfect curls as they advanced. Perfect for surfing, if you were an inch tall.

The water called me in. For me nothing can match the sheer awe of being in nature all alone. Gratitude filled me as I swam and floated in the calm, clear waters taking in the rays of the sun until my limbs became chilled. Then I lay on my towel, while the warm wind dried the droplets from my skin.

When muffled sounds of conversation and shoes digging into the pebbled beach became louder and clearer with the approach of 2 walkers, I caught myself becoming irritated, “it’s getting too crowded; “time to move on!” I had to laugh I had just spent 2 hours in solitude on this lovely beach. How spoiled we are in this amazing country. I jumped on my bike and returned refreshed and ready to join the others packing up to spend some time in Goderich before leaving for home.

That afternoon, before we headed out to go our separate ways, we got gelato from the gelato shop in town operated by the most enthusiastic gelatineer you could ever imagine! We sat outside her store enjoying our treats, chatting, laughing and kidding one and other, reading suggestive passages from Jan’s “bodice ripper” and called our loved ones on our cels to say we’d be home soon but stretched out the leave-taking, reluctant to let go of the cottage frame of mind and our friends. It was only the raindrops heralding an oncoming storm that forced us into our vehicles and down the road.

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