My Humble Escape

My Humble Escape

Posted on May 12 by James Ross
Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Pinterest

It is early morning at the cottage.  I sit on the covered wooden porch of our cabin in a hewn log rocking chair, with two huskies asleep at my feet.

Beyond the cottage porch is the lake.  Waves break gently on our rocky shoreline.  A song sparrow sings from an overhead branch, my robin hops about looking for worms, a pair of loons paddle about the bay hooting softly and a gull stands guard on a stump near the shore; but for the quiet murmur of the birds, the soft breathing of my dogs and the sounds of the water, there is silence.  This is why I like to rise early.

Our family cottage is on an island; a balsam-scented, three and a half acre mound of rock, cedar and pine.   On the island, in a setting of white birch and mountain ash, is a rambling log cabin with a loft and ladder, polished wood furniture, a wood burning fireplace, covered porch and cedar privy.  There is a modest boathouse with double doors that open up over the water.  It is where my wife and I often sleep, a safari-like netting sweeps down from its frame across the bed, protecting us from mosquitoes in the night.  On the north side of the island is a bunkhouse for the kids, and a screened gazebo that serves as my writing studio.  Muskoka chairs are on the dock at the end of a short, well-worn path.  The island is surrounded by inviting water, and a sweeping panorama of inlets, islands and peninsulas.

I wait for the kettle to boil, and then, with coffee in hand, I wander down to the dock to stare vacantly out over the water.  Timelessness, isolation and simplicity create our space here.   We have time to think, time to read, and plenty of time for contemplation.  We perform insignificant tasks without conscience nagging us with guilt.  Our lives seem to slow down, we have time with our kids that we don’t have at home.  More amazingly, perhaps, they also find time for us.

In “Cottage Daze” and “Still in a Daze at the Cottage,” I invite my readers to my family’s humble escape.  The cottage experience I write about is shaped by the people we share it with, and by the animals and nature that add depth and humour to our lives.  Summer at the cottage is filled with activity, adventures and misadventures – but stories also seem to emanate from even the dullest cottage routine.   

This is the place where I find my inspiration.  This is cottage life.

James Ross

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

James Ross

James Ross has a degree in journalism and has worked as a newspaper reporter, cowboy, mountain guide, museum curator, dogsledder, movie stuntman, animal trainer, photo double, and freelance writer. He enjoys misadventures at his Muskoka island cottage in Bracebridge, Ontario.