Traveling to Woodland Beach on the Labour Day weekend was bittersweet. I love the area on Nottawasaga Bay: the breeze off the lake, the crashing waves, the smell of oak and poplar trees.
When I see acorns on the ground, I'm a kid again. My mom took us by the hands and we filled paper sacks. We spread them on the picnic table, gave them characters and drew faces on them. We'd laugh as she took off their "hats" and made them dance.
|Mom and I at Woodland|
We spent endless hours daily on the shore. Only hunger persuaded us to head back to the cottage for suppers. We would load into the car, bathing suits itching where sand had intruded to make its mark. On top of the old car, the giant tractor tube perched. My father drove at a snail’s pace and held it with one hand on the short drive from water’s edge to the cottage, but it was worth it to play on that tube. After supper, we'd head back down again, ice cream cones in hand to feed the seagulls and watch the sunset.
|The Old Cottage|
For love of Woodland Beach and in hopes of retirement there, a new cottage was constructed on the same site. This one was home-like, insulated and winter ready. We spent many family years there before it was sold. By that time, I was long gone from Ontario.
On Labour Day weekend, I was saddened to think of how many family members are gone. Those sing-a-longs around the fire pit seem like eons ago. Familiar cottages are now timeworn, some ramshackle. Even the beach itself is changed. Gone is the white expanse of sand; in its place are weeds and rocks. My son and his cousins will never know that place and this saddens me. Time, as they say, marches on, and I remain grateful to God for time well spent at Woodland Beach.
|Woodland Beach now...|