I started the day by going to chemo, my awesome brother Hal picked me up at 8am and we enjoyed each other’s company for the hour that I was hooked up to an IV drip. From there Hal quickly drove me to the airport and I met Tracey (she went early as we were flying on a buddy pass through the generosity of my pal Brian) as she was checking in early so we could get on our standby flight.
Flew to Toronto sitting in the last row by the bathroom, where the aisle seat is a non stop cavalcade of crotches loitering in front of your face.
The first two hours of the flight were a bit sketchy due to the chemo treatment, and the crotches, but I finally settled in to a movie and before we knew it we were in Toronto. Had a lovely visit with Tori, Mo and Cole and toured the Brickworks and the Danforth before getting in the car with John and Emma to head up to Muskoka.
Being given permission to skip one chemo treatment so I could make it to Muskoka was certainly a true gift of time. And I was making sure to get the most out of each part, even the crotches, no matter how many steps we needed to take.
I am writing this post to tell you how much I love Muskoka, and more importantly seeing the two most special women in my life living it large in their favourite spot on Earth. Tracey and Amanda and the rest of the clan have built an incredible family paradise here. For generations this family have been coming up to the cottage, and there is no doubt in my mind that it is the strongest tie that binds everyone. It’s the one place that the family can guarantee continuity, it’s the one place you can be certain they will gather and that the conversations, cocktail parties, golf and tennis games are mentally booked prior to showing up. It’s the perfect Groundhog Day and the smile on my face from watching my girls and the family thrive in the repeated beauty of the island, the lake and the people is unparalleled.
While I haven’t been coming up to Muskoka my whole life like Tracey has, I do know that there is a certain sense of calm that comes with being here. And it goes way beyond the people, although as you may know gathering people is typically my priority and the source of my energy.
Four years ago I came to the cottage only a few days after my radical nefrectomy (the fancy way this medical family says kidney removal) and spent a lot of time lying around listening to the trees.
Last year when I was having a tough time I remember sitting on the end of the dock listening to the sound of water lapping on the rocks, the waves bouncing off the dock and the boats. I can still hear the sounds of the trees blowing in the wind, birds singing and squirrels being squirrelly. It still is my most memorable and intense, if intense was a word that aligned with meditation, that I’ve ever experienced. I was seriously in tune with the beauty and simplicity of all the nature around me. I went so far as to play with natures sounds by isolating water on the rocks or focussing just on the leaves rustling on the right side of the dock. I could track down the sound of water on the rocks behind the boathouse. I was so deeply engrossed in my surroundings. I was at one with nature.
Sorry if that sounded trite or overly dramatic, but it was seriously cool.
It was then that I understood the impact and power of nature. I have always felt I was in synch with Mother Nature but this session reminded me that it is an important part of my healing process. Being outside, especially on a fast moving river, is therapeutic and I need to continue to find myself on a mountain, on a lake or in a forest beside a river more often.
Today I read an article that reminded me of this thought. The story titled ‘Nature is Nurture’ is written by an accomplished outdoorsman and is super relevant to me right now. As a matter of fact it made me appreciate and love the Muskoka traditions even more.
Have a read and then get your bare feet on some greenery!