Friday, March 08, 2019

Blue, icebound lake house

People lived here once
Mallorytown Landing, ON
January 2019
This photo originally shared on Instagram
I'm in the middle of a long, solo drive on a highway I've driven so often over the past few months that every interchange and every curve for hundreds of mind-numbing kilometres has now been committed firmly to memory. I don't need to look at the GPS to know what comes next, and which way I need to subtly shift my hands on the wheel to stay in the middle of the curving ribbon of endless asphalt.

A few hours into the drive, there's a regional highway that parallels the 401. It adds exactly 1 km to the trip, but it's worth the extra time. Because the road shrinks from 4 lanes to 2, the speed limit drops from 100 km/h to 80, and the route curves both beside and through the St. Lawrence River, meandering lazily along this mighty waterway and revealing awe-inspiring views at every turn. Way better than a soulless superhighway.

I stop at an abandoned visitor centre along the way, just because. I need to soak this place in a bit, in the faint hope that I'll find some kind of inspiration, some reason to smile, some way to break the gloom that's been gripping me since I said goodbye to my wife in Montreal and watched her fade from the rear-view mirror.

It's insanely cold as I get out of the car and walk across the creaking snow to the shore overlooking the solidly frozen bay dotted with countless homes built on tiny islands. In the dead of winter, they sit, empty sentinels to the awesome power of nature to redraw the landscape, to stop us in our tracks.

Just standing here, wondering about lives unseen, and the wonder of life on the water, is enough to briefly lift the darkness that's been haunting me. But the creeping frostbite in my fingers means I get less than a dozen shots off before I need to get back to the car.

I'll come back to this hallowed place again, on another trip. Hopefully there will be more life here then. Hopefully I'll have a better story to tell then, too.

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