Last summer, after returning from a necessary driving trip across several provinces, Following medical advice, I self-isolated for 14 days before going home to be with my partner Nancy. I was fortunate enough to have access to a small cottage on Harp Lake in Ontario, Canada. I have a solo canoe, and so each day, weather permitting, I paddled around the lake, enjoyed cloud reflections, morning mists, and evening sunsets. And I was struck by the sense of emptiness. The northern part of the province of Ontario is “cottage country” – an abundance of lakes many with summer cottages on the lake shores. Prior to the pandemic, the cottages are full of three generations: grandparents, parents and children … all enjoying summer water activities in their homes away from the busy life back home.
This series of images and haiku represents my experience of finding very few families present, the water slides and docks mostly empty, the boats put away as if it was season’s end. That special call of a loon lent to the feeling of being alone in the cottage and on the lake. Even visits with the few neighbours present, usually grandparents like myself, where normally there are invitations to “Come on over for a barbecue” were non-existent.