The weekend before last, I had the privilege of spending some much needed respite at Blue Lake near Parry Sound. Jennie and Jim kindly opened their cottage for friends, Ralph and Evelyn and I. The five of us spent the time strolling and conversing, appreciating the deep ornamentation and aromas of fall. We had no agenda, no schedule. That in itself made for a peaceful weekend.
We sat in each other's company and enjoyed the leisure of it all. Evelyn is an artist, skilled in ways I can only dream of, a great inspiration to pursue gifts given by God. She was diligent to sketch and experiment with watercolour, rarely seen without sketchbook in hand. Jim, when not sawing up a large tree he had felled, favoured a corner with good light, off in another world with a good book. Ralph helped Jim with the tree and joined Jennie and I in many games at the table. Jennie floated among us singing the song of the hostess, making sure we always had whatever we needed. The food was grand and more than one recipe was copied. And to my delight, being raised on good pie, there were both lemon meringue and a berry crumble to choose from. Sheer relaxation.
The place itself is a sanctuary of peace. Surrounded by tall oaks and maples, the cottage is nestled in, away from the road, up the hill from the water. A place well known to bears and bluejays, the forest sings with movement. Jennie and Jim bought the twelve acres at the end of the lake in the late eighties and have been spending the warm months working on their dwelling all these years. More country house than cottage, as it is fully winterized, bathroomed and bedroomed, the sheer size of it takes it fully out of the cottage category. But it wasn't always this way. For the first three years, they lived in a trailer. Patiently, persistently they used their "Willy," (a jeep sort of thing) to haul in materials and nail by nail build their "Lighthouse." Just last summer, their modern kitchen was completed. My favourite room runs along the side of the house with large windows on every side. It has all the benefits of being in the forest without the bugs and heat. Surrounded by nature, that room could stand by itself as a reason to build in the bush.
Jennie and Jim are salt and light. They humbly offer their abode to any who need it. It has been a place of honeymoons, baptisms, retreats and reunions. They've welcomed guests from their home in York region and as far away as Holland, Sweden, Finland and even New Zealand. Their doors are open and so are their hearts. I count it a privilege to have been part of this group.
One guest echoed the sentiments of myself and many others when in their guestbook, he simply wrote,
Jennie and Jim,
Thank you for this place of peace.
May you be abundantly blessed!