Where I live in Southern Ontario, Canada, lakes surround us. In fact historically, pioneers labelled our area the Land of One Thousand Islands. Our southern border is the St. Lawrence River, a large seaway that flows from the from the Atlantic Ocean to the five Great Lakes that form the south-eastern boundary of the province of Ontario.
This area is part of the great Canadian Shield, a huge stretch of rock that sweeps up and around Hudson’s Bay and covers Greenland. Basically. pockets of lakes, hills, small mountains and forests sit on rock. Most valleys are rich farm land with hills of stone rising up right beside them. In fact a section of our cellar floor is solid rock which the builders carved out with pick axes in 1861 but some of the floor is earth because the stone is not level. Let me tell you, it is very frustrating trying to plant shrubs and flowering trees because often after picking the perfect spot, our shovels hit rock 30 cm down.
But what we enjoy most about our area is the fishing.
When David had to prepare a short speech in grade one, I suggested he talk about his three favourite things in life – food, fishing and fire. That title was so perfect that the three “F” words have become a family joke.
My most vivid image of the boy’s at the cottage is six year-old David hopping out of bed at 6:00a.m.before anyone else was awake, throwing shorts and a t-shirt on and running out the door without breakfast. He would grab a fishing rod and run down the hill to the lake to start casting.
I still grin at his obsession with fishing.
Whenever I was inside the cottage with a toddler or newborn, I would constantly peek out the window laughing, sending various siblings to fish beside David or catch minnows with a net with Anthony. Matthew, their older brother or Michael would stroll down to fish beside them for an hour or so or the older girls would read or suntan in shifts, just to make sure neither of them drowned. Often I would have to practically bribe them to come in to put on sunscreen, a hat, to eat, or to get ready for bed.Anthony was more intrigued with the minnow trap, shredding bread, counting how many minnows were in the trap and yelling as he ran back up the hill to share his excitement with everyone. The girls and I would just smile and shake our heads at both boys because we could not fathom why anyone would become so excited about fish.
Where did this fanaticism come from?
Why dear old dad, who still can fish for over 12 hours, without food. The scariest combination is my husband and my future son-in-law because when they are out fishing they stay out even longer. Since both men are called Michael, we call them Mike squared or Mike to the power of 2. The women in the family shy away from such excursions because unlike men, we need official pit stops to duck behind the bushes every couple of hours. Such requests are met with stunned indignation and offers of other solutions to our bladder needs!! We refuse these alternatives, of course!
I must add that Emily now is an avid fisher woman because her partner is completely obsessed with fishing and some weekends she would barely see that fellow unless she tagged along. I must admit, though, that she totes a survival bag with food and a good book in it.