Did you go to a cottage this summer? Hiking? Camping? Did you try to escape the heat, if you live in India? Perhaps you just enjoyed urban nature? Maybe you live in the country? Use that keyboard (!) to write a few words about your particular experience in the comment box below. Or send me photos.

What better time to recall summer getaways as Fall deepens outside the window. The leaves seemed to turn yellow overnight, last week, and that beautiful, muted, slanting light, that evokes all manner of nuanced feeling, and a certain tremulousness, permeated everything.

Among the pleasures of immigration to Canada from the tropics, are the all-too-short weekends I get to spend in Canadian Cottage Country.

This year I had the chance to revisit my friend Gillian, on Black Rock, a lovely, little island in the Peterborough area in Ontario. In the vast stretches that typify Canada, owning an island is less spectacular than it would be in other parts of the world, say for example in space-strapped Japan, though no less fortunate.

There were the usual delights of canoeing, dipping in the lake, leisurely meals enjoyed in tranquil, green, watery surroundings, and rambles around the island with Gill’s wonderful children – Ursula and Allias. We also witnessed spectacular meteor showers. Lying back in the open, under blankets, the four us watched in awe as shooting stars bloomed all over the star-spangled, night sky. The kids screamed in glee!

Later I read on the net: “The Perseids take place each August as the Earth passes through the debris of the comet Swift-Tuttle. The dust particles light up as they pass through the Earth’s atmosphere, burning up along the way.”

It was love at first sight for me. Way back in September 2001, I wrote this “ode” to Black Rock:

Jewel
in the palm
of Stoney Lake

Encased in lush,
swirling waters
– a dazzling
turquoise tumescence

Ripening every summer
A fruit, we
have learnt to partake

Leaving you, in the wake
of a lazy weekend
abundant nectar
dribbling down our chins
made dour by city living

Satiated

with the promise
of another summer’s seduction
ahead

Sealed
Amid the pines
– an autumn-tipped seed
mellowing
under the Junipers

Here are some photos of Black Rock from that time.

This year I also visited Petroglyphs Provincial Park. The main attraction here is a massive rock, covered with drawings reminiscent of cave paintings. It is thrilling to see the petroglyphs of turtles, snakes, birds, humans and symbolic shapes. Probably carved by Algonquian-speaking people, the drawings are thought to range in age from 600 to 1100 years. Known as The Teaching Rocks (Kinomagewapong), the site is sacred to First Nation’s people. It is a place where they journeyed to conduct ceremonies, pray, meditate and fast, over millennia. The Park is collaboratively managed with the Curve Lake First Nations People who live nearby. There’s a nice museum on-site called “The Learning Place,” which explains Native traditions.

Highly recommended.

Thanks Gillian for making it all possible.