The makings of a perfect long weekend

It was the perfect long weekend. If I didn’t know better, the heat and the breezes from the lake felt like the long weekend in August.
Friday evening as dusk set, the mosquitoes drove us inside behind the screens. Their constant hum against the screens was almost reassuring.
The stillness and quietness of the lake hung over the cabin. Two more lights could be seen from other cottagers returning to Rainy.
I watched a bumblebee on Saturday morning. Blueberry plants at the island are covered in creamy white, miniature bell-shaped flowers. The bumblebee was meticulously going from flower to flower, hovering just in from of each one.
If it had landed, the branch from which the flowers hung would have bent. The bee was much larger than the flowers it was gathering nectar from.
I marveled how it could adjust its angle, grasp each flower, yet not shake it. The plant was covered in hundreds of blossoms and it took its turn going to each flower. When that plant was completed, it moved to the next bush.
It must have taken a lot of energy to work and I only watched in amazement for 10 minutes. It still was pollinating the flowers when I chose to leave.
All over the island this weekend, the blueberry plants were in blossom. It could be a good year for berries this year.
It wasn’t a great one last year, and our supply of berries at home is running low. Many are now two years old.
The rain from Monday will help those plants. And if we can have a little regular rain over the next six weeks, this year’s crop will be bountiful.
I hadn’t really thought of how much we depend on insects for our food supply. Yet watching that individual bee go from flower to flower, meticulously doing its work, makes me smile.
Without bees, the handfuls of warm berries I like to pick off the plants as I walk across the island would not be there. We wouldn’t be enjoying our blueberry pancakes in the morning or the fresh blueberry muffins out of the oven.
The fragrance of blueberries cooking in a pie that rises out of the oven at the cabin would not exist, and then eating that pie with vanilla ice cream and seeing everyone’s teeth turn blue would not happen.
• • •
The white pine trees are sprouting their new brilliant soft green needles. So, too, are the spruce trees and cedars on the island.
If the rain and cold of last year is any indication, the trees should have a good growth spurt.
Pollen across the water tells me that the pine trees already have blossomed and you can see the beginnings of new pine cones at the nest of needles.
The squirrels should be happy that next winter’s food would be available in August and September.
• • •
The storm on mid-Monday morning turned the lake to black and grey, and the brilliant whitecaps danced across the top of the water. The white spray from the waves breaking on shore and across rocks jutting out of the water shot two metres into the air.
Streaks of lightning shot down from the sky to the north, and the air rumbled above and around us.
Torrents of rain pelted down from the skies and we couldn’t see Nowhere Island across the way.
Meanwhile, safely inside the cabin, I was writing my column. At another computer, my wife, Marnie, was working on some documents for Girl Guides.
This past weekend, we counted five computers at the cabin. When the power went out, we both decided that we would unplug our computers.
I suppose my father would be surprised by our connection to the Internet. When a phone line reached the cabin, it was only for emergencies and the line was shared with other cottagers in the area.
It was nice that we had it call up to see if the cabin needed anything in the way of supplies.
When we added a generator, the necessity of propane lights and gas water pump was done away with. And when a power line connected our cabin to the Ontario Hydro grid, we added an electric fridge and outdoor lights.
Later came electric baseboard heat in the sleeping cabin.
The Internet arrived two years ago. It came so we could work from the cabin.
On Sunday night, using the Internet, we placed a call halfway around the world to Seoul, Korea to touch base with our son. He was 14 hours ahead of us, and we wakened him on his Monday morning.
The call that lasted for more than half an hour only cost a few dollars. The Internet does offer some bonuses.
The lightning knocked the Internet out so we retreated to playing cards.

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