October At The Cottage – Closing up

Fall at the cottage is always met with mixed emotions. On the one hand, it is a beautiful time of year, here in Eastern Canada the autumn leaves are turning to beautiful shades of red, brown and yellow and the ground is littered with the ones that have fallen.

The days are warm and bright, and the nights are cool, but not cold. In fact, my wife and I have just returned from two nights at the cottage and on the first night we had the windows open. In the daytime I was in a short sleeved shirt, basking in the remaining warm sunshine of 2006.

But….on the other hand, the fall also brings with it a feeling that ‘it is over’ summer has past, and winter can only be around the corner. The kids are back to school and work vacations are winding down. The lake is quieter now, boats are fewer in number and fellow cottagers are gone, returning sporadically now until next year.

This weekend was our weekend to close up the place, or at least begin to close it up. The weather was too nice to put the final nail in the coffin, so I deliberately left some things undone in a vain attempt to stall off winter and leave me with the hope I will be returning soon.

However, the aluminum boats and the pedal boat are up on shore, turned over and chained to the nearest big tree. Most of the wharf is on shore as well, at least as much of it as I could handle myself, and the plumbing….I have drained the system and disconnected the pump. From here on any water used at the cottage will have to be carried in buckets from the lake, or hauled in bottles from home.

Standing back, looking around the place, it is officially closed now, even if we do stay there again before winter. If we don’t get back, it’s ok, for the most part all is done and the place should survive another 6 months without us.

It is a lonesome kind of time, knowing the summer has past, and yet another year has slipped through our fingers like sand from the beach. I looked fondly at some of the kids stuff piled in the boatshed and realized that some of it was too small or too young for them 5 years ago, but I have hung onto it just in case they need it some time…You never know when your 18 year old daughter is going to decide to take a bucket and plastic shovel and go make a sand castle on the beach. Ok it might never happen until she has kids of her own, but I will keep the stuff anyway.

Today I was also reflecting on my own Dad, and the many days together he and I spent at the cottage, or as he likes to call it, “the camp” For an easterner like my father “cottage” has a ring of pretentiousness that he tries to avoid. He wasn’t with me today to take off the water, something of a specialty of his, but he will be with me next week when we go down to cut a little wood and inspect the plumbing to make sure I did it right.

This was a spectacular weekend, the weather so mild and except for a period of heavy rain on Saturday as a storm front moved through, it was a great time to be there. Even during the rain, with our little wood stove burning some old hardwood, the place was warm and cozy. I wish I was there now…..
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