Whitefish Lake was nearly empty when my grandfather bought the old log cabin next to windswept pines on a rocky outcrop of Canadian Shield. He put a pair of Adirondack chairs on the rocks to watch the orange and pink watercolours stretch across the sky and to listen to the loons wail to each other across the water.
As a wedding gift to my parents, Grandpa severed a chunk of the land and gave them the bay with the beach. They honeymooned there.
The rest of the pictures are memories of a growing Canadian family over six decades: toddlers at the beach, kids with marshmallows on sticks, my gap-toothed six-year-old brother proudly dangling a fish on a line, my sisters sun tanning on the dock, a red canoe on a lake of glass.
The moose head still hangs on the fireplace. A maple leaf still billows from the porch.
Like the loons, my family will return this summer. They will sit in Adirondack chairs and watch the skies and listen to the loons. Sometimes they will reminisce about Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa because their essence hangs in the air there like the smell of pine. It is in the masonry and hand-carved into the wood.
Great, Great grandbabies will dangle in the swing that hangs from a birch tree on the beach. Little ones will run the sandy paths barefoot to fish at the dock and catch fireflies.
It will be Canadian summer again, in all its glory. The True North, strong and free. Home