Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dear Louise,

     You'd be surprised at how often I think of you.  So I thought I'd sit down and tell you of a good memory I have of you.  I remember when I first saw you in grade 6, at Notre Dame.  You were the new kid in school and you had a certain confidence that comes from moving around a lot.  Your French was very mature and different from our dialect.  I wasn't sure what to make of you and so I kept my distance.  Then one day in class you mentioned to everyone that your brother actually had a stick that a beaver had chewed on!  I was completely enraptured by this idea of possessing such a marvel from nature.  So much so, that I decided to do a big project on beavers and on my cover page, I glued a nickel.  I was impressed by my cleaver ingenuity.  Sadly, the nickel did not return with the paper.  A nickel back in 1972 meant a chocolate fudge sickle!  I blamed Raymond somebody, not sure why.
       All these years later, I find myself thinking of this while canoeing on our lake, doing what I love best - collecting beaver chewed sticks.  The plan is to make an awning off the sauna, completely with this harvest.  Can you imagine something as beautiful as that?  Lately, fat ones have been availing themselves.  So there's a fence waiting to be created somewhere.  Last fall during a gray, cloudy, misty day, a red canoe pulled up with a girl in a yellow rain coat.  She had a gift of many smaller freshly polished beaver chewed sticks for me and she piled them on our dock.  I've made a rustic lattice out of it for the new bed of daisies by the shed.
     This year's big project is an English garden, Yukon style.  For me it's not so much about what we'll plant there, it's the doodads I'm going to have fun with.  A sun dial (ours reads: "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be"), a memorial bench for my friend and neighbour Gail, a bird bath (made by Gail who was a potter), a funky locally made statue of some kind and an archway made of beaver chewed driftwood.  I've been saving some extra precious ones for the rustic elegance effect, reflecting far away lands, yet terraced in front of the guest cabin.  This is where I'll pass to deliver freshly made sourdough muffins, neatly tucked into a willow basket, to hang on an old paddle wheeler's pulley, dangling off their deck.  Nothing says "Good morning and welcome to Crag Lake!" better than that.  "We're glad you're here to catch a glimpse of this wild setting and to be part of what we are literally carving out of it."
     I'm not sure where these massive ideas come from but Rob, this talented marvel of a man continues to manifest them for me and with me.  I am truly blessed in so many ways.
     Do you ever wonder about things like that?  How we recognize parts of our future selves at a young age and then finding ourselves exactly there?  There's a deja vu effect, or a comforting confirmation about choices made and certain directions taken.  That's the beauty of this decade of being 50.

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