The perfect end to a perfect summer is happening for me right now, as you’re reading these words. At least, that’s how I’m imagining it. I’m writing this column for deadline before I head out of town for my week of summer vacation. I hear visualization works wonders for positive outcomes. Stay tuned.
I’ve been visualizing this vacation for 358 days. Every morning when I come into the office and turn on my computer I am greeted by a screen saver image of my happy place: beautiful Bobcaygeon.
I remember every detail of taking this photo. I was standing on the dock in the early morning hours, watching the fog rise off the lake. Nobody was awake but the ducks, bobbing their heads under water, orange feet stretching out to paddle, flapping their wings as water cascaded down their smooth, colourful backs. At the marina, off to my right, the boats gently swayed and bumped in their slips. Behind me was a sense of the sleepy peace of families still tucked into the warmth of their blankets in their tiny cottages, as the morning air brought a slight chill to what would soon be a warm summer day.
There was a scent of autumn in the air. The sun was slowly peaking up from behind the cottages across the channel, turning everything, from the clouds stretched long across the sky to their reflection on the water, into the most beautiful hues of orange. My favourite colour. And I stood there in awe. Grateful. Consciously aware of the gift of this moment.
I will experience this view now through fresh eyes. Every year removes another filter. This one was no exception. Old patterns faced new challenges. Newfound courage conquered old fears. There were fresh starts and sudden endings. Detachment saved me. I continue to work at caring less while loving more.
For 15 years, my family and I have made memories here. Every summer, it feels both familiar and foreign. I enjoy that. I sink into my vacation like I sink my feet into the sand on the beach: slowly and fully. It’s essential that I take this week to step back. Turn off and tune in. Listen to the sounds of boat engines or kids splashing in the water, or the whirr and snap of the fishing line when I cast off, secretly hoping I catch a big fish and equally terrified I won’t have a clue what to do if I catch one. Picture me with a muskie. No. Don’t.
Imagine a week without plans. My only plan is not to plan anything. Spontaneous relaxation. Road trips and little adventures will happen when they happen. And you can bet there will be chip dip. So much chip dip.
I want to bask in the orange glow of the morning and end each night laughing and sharing stories around the orange flames and smoldering embers of the bon fire, beneath the giant orange moon that annually has watched over us on the summer nights of this week. In the minutes and moments in between, I will be aware of the gift of this time in this place, with the people that hold me together.
And when it’s time to come home, I’ll bring with me a new photo and another memory to hold the space until next time.
Orange skies. Orange moons. Beautiful Bobcaygeon.
Just picture it.