I just got back from a weekend at the cottage. The trip was just what I needed, after having cancelled my Algonquin trip last week. When Jess wrote to invite a bunch of us up there, the timing seemed absolutely perfect.
It was a three-hour drive to get to the cottage on the Magnetewan River, but the time seemed to go quickly. Arriving there late at night brought a sense of almost immediate peace. I stood on the dock alone to take it all in. It was a moonless night. Lanterns from the cottage provided dim light, illuminating a wispy swath of fog on the river. My shadow cut a me-shaped slice through it that stretched all the way to the other bank. The hills on the other side were mirrored in the still waters of the dark river, and a billion stars lay scattered across the black silk sky like sequins against the veil of the Milky Way. There was a cool crisp smell of fall in the air. For the first time this fall, I felt a chilly bite in the breeze.
I slept in a low bunk in one of the cottage’s three tiny bedrooms. I had planned to wake up early to take some photos of the mist over the river, but, I slept later than I had hoped. I guess the fresh air and cool air made it too inviting to stay in bed. I wasn’t too disappointed. 🙂 I spent the day with my camera, casually taking a series of pretty but mostly meaningless photos, trying to capture the mood of this place: calm, cool, a fragment of time. As usual I reached for the 105mm macro lens, which is partially broken. The autofocus motor seems to be broken, forcing me to focus manually. I like the feeling of turning the focus ring. It makes photography more organic. It puts me in touch with the many layers of subject matter, sifting through them as they reveal themselves one at a time through the viewfinder.
That night was a good one. We ate steaks, drank beer, and headed to a redneck tavern in town (Magnetewan: population 300) to watch the hockey game. Canada won 4-3 over the Czech Republic in overtime. Was there ever any doubt? Later that night, we stayed up playing cards, drinking expensive Tequila, and arguing the most ridiculous arguments about professional sports. Bjorn seems to think that people in pro sports should just be nice to each other and there’d be no need for contracts or unions or complicated negotiations. It seemed difficult for him to understand that some people are, in fact, assholes, which has led to the paranoid and distrustful system we know and love today. In the mean time, Nick and I won almost every Euchre game causing paranoia and distrust to be leveled at us. 😛
I spent Sunday stalking the elusive emerald hummingbird with my camera. I was determined to get a good photo of him. He was so shy and nervous that the slightest movement of the camera would cause him to zip into the trees to hide. I waited for 20 minutes with the camera held in shooting position for him to come to the feeder. Eventually my patience paid off, and I got a few clear photos of him. In the afternoon, we went out on the lake in the motorboat. The day on the river was beautiful though. The motorboat skimmed the water, which felt hard as glass to my fingers as I trailed them over the edge. The bright sunlight transformed the bow spray into a glittering shower of diamonds that arced through the air before sinking and disappearing into the blackness of the river. I wish I had brought my camera, but I had been worried about it getting wet.
Anyway, now I’m home. I still feel the gentle rocking movement of the boat as I sit in my computer chair typing this up. I almost wish it never stops. 🙂