Sunday, June 3, 2012

My Day Off

The "day off" - the most treasured day of the week for anyone working in the seasonal resort business.  For me, I always enjoy it best when I have a plan. 

Last Sunday, I was determined to find the "unmarked grave" near Canoe Lake.  I recently read "Northern Light' by Roy MacGregor and watched the documentary "West Wind".  All this information had been buzzing in my head for months - and no, smartypants, it wasn't just the mosquitoes!       

I left mid-morning on my bike (a sleep-in is allowed on a day off) with an Arowhon picnic lunch and camera in my pack.  I shamefully admit eating the cookies before reaching the Crossroads.  I turned right, then left just past the second wooden bridge.  I knew that I needed to follow this small dirt road to another path and then there would be the grave. 

There are a few pretty cottages along this road.  At the first fork in the road, just past the green outhouse with the charming crescent moon on the door, I stayed to the right - then stayed right again at the next fork (is anyone else thinking the Muppet Movie?).  I admit feeling a little nervous at not having brought my GPS, when I stopped, got off my bike and looked around. 

A medium sized birch tree - the only white one around, drew my attention.  When  I looked beyond that tree, I could see, about 50 feet down the road, a small path leading into the bush. I left my bike and slowly walked along the path into the woods and past some clearings, where one hundred years ago people would have been busy working, fishing, visiting friends and just living.  It felt eerie.  Then, there it was, a small area, surrounded by a picket fence, containing two grave stones and an old tree.  Outside the fence was a simple, white, unmarked cross, which according to some, is the lonely grave of Tom Thomson.       

I respectfully inspected everything, took some photos and spent a few quiet moments thinking about what I had read, heard and saw. 

A little later I left, biked to the lake where I ate my lunch peacefully, gazing out at the shorelines and trees.  I imagined Tom Thomson doing the same thing in this exact spot.  Although a hundred years apart, I see what inspired him every summer day.        



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