Paradise is close to home

My computer desktop has a picture taken from the deck of our cottage on Rainy Lake at dusk. The sunset is red and golden with shades of lavender stretched out across the horizon.
I am on holidays this week and for the second year in a row, my wife and I have chosen to spend that time at the cottage.
I have used that screen to show friends across Canada the wonderful place in which we live. The picture allows me to show them how wonderful northwestern Ontario is.
Today, I am on that same deck writing this column, looking out over the still waters of the lake. I am drinking coffee that is called “Rainy Lake Roast.” It is roasted in International Falls by Sheila Johnson who shares the cottage on the other side of the island with her two sisters and brother. Several years ago, Sheila returned to the Falls and opened up the Coffee Landing Metro.
The small outcropping of rock has brought in a flock of herring gulls. They are not usually there.
The pair of loons that have been in our bay all summer are slowly moving back and forth across the water. In the evening they call out to each other with their soulful voices. Often loons in other parts of the lake answer them. We also have a pair of otters in the neighborhood.
Normally, we have lots of squirrels around the cottage, but they seem to have disappeared from the scene this year and when you see one, it does not raise its voice to chastise you. They seem to quickly disappear.
This year there is either a martin or a mink in the woodpile. We are not sure what it is since we have not had a clear look at it. It does, however, have a lustrous black coat and sneaks under the deck to the cottage.
Our neighbors next door, Phil and Carol Grief, have been at the lake since early May. They hail from Oregon and have grown to love the lake as much as we do.
Phil’s brother, Larry, who actually owns the cottage, is putting his container ship that he built in Philadelphia to sea trials. The ship is expected to be delivered to its owners in the next few weeks and will begin moving products between San Francisco and Hawaii.
As I said, Marnie and I are on holidays. We have brought to the lake a bunch of books to read. We’ll take out the canoe and paddle boat and I will put into the water the kayak that I built under the guidance of Eric Fagerdahl four years ago.
Marnie and I will do a little fishing and have a fish fry with our sons who will come up for supper one evening. Mostly though we’re just relaxing and discovering again why so many tourists come to our part of the world.

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