A Childhood in Muskoka
I spent my childhood summers in a fairytale landscape near Bracebridge, Ontario, where towering pines, clusters of trilliums and sharp rocky outcroppings ringed the tiny lake pictured here. Nothing on earth compared to awakening at dawn by the haunting cry of our loon. A chipmunk that ate nuts from my palm, glittering dragonflies, an enormous lime-green caterpillar named Oscar Meyer, battalions of mosquitoes snapping to attention at the first whiff of blood, even furry dock spiders with legs like drumsticks… these were my companions. Most magical of all were evening drives to a nearby clearing. We joined a lineup of cars facing a rubbish bin, turned off our engine and waited. At 8:00pm sharp, always on schedule, a black bear lumbered out of the woods, oblivious to her rapt audience of cottagers. Occasionally she turned to check on her two cubs hidden in the forest, visible only by the glint of their eyes. Assured of their safety, the mama bear rose up on her powerful hind legs to sift through the bin, pulling out morsels to feed her young. She gave an exquisite performance, even better than anything at Santa’s Village or the drive-in on Doe Lake Road. How I miss that enchanted lake in Canada's wilderness! Little did I know I'd end up 600 miles away, pining for home.