I had never been to this part of Ontario before; S has lived there most of her life -- even when she was working in the city, she & her partner would head home to the farm for weekends & holidays, and when they both retired, they sold their house in the city and came home for good. And she was a great tour guide. It's an area where cottages & ski resorts along the lakeshore (Lake Huron/Georgian Bay) give way to rolling farmland and apple orchards. We spent a lot of time just driving around country roads that most daytrippers and tourists wouldn't know about, enjoying the scenery. The fall colours are just starting to peek out from among the greenery, but it was very pretty nevertheless. S lives in town these days, but they own a piece of beachfront property off a narrow dirt road in the country, and she took us there late in the afternoon. We dragged a couple of chairs (called Adirondack chairs in the U.S.) out of the storage shed and down to the water's edge & sat there for an hour or so with the drinks & snacks we'd brought along in an insulated cooler bag, talking and laughing and enjoying the view, and the peace & quiet.
Besides work (and early retirement), another thing the three of us have in common: none of us has children (although J has several stepchildren & grandchildren). We never discuss WHY we don't have kids (although they both supported me through my rollercoaster pregnancy, Katie's stillbirth & its aftermath) -- but we did talk about various issues related to aging without children -- where to live, what to do with a lifetime of accumulated STUFF (and who, if anyone, is going to want it when we're gone), etc. My social networks are not quite as well developed as theirs, but we all spoke with pride and affection about our cousins & their kids, stepkids (& their kids), nieces & nephews (and great-nieces & nephews), and friends' kids who are like grandkids/nieces & nephews to us. I was struck (not for the first time) by the generosity my childless/free friends show towards other people's children -- contrary to the popular stereotype that we're all "selfish" and "child-haters."
The next day (Friday), we drove about two more hours north to the very northernmost tip of the peninsula (with a lot of side trips & stops at points of interest along the way), where we strolled around the harbour, eating ice cream & getting sunburned before heading home again. I imagine the place is crawling with tourists on a summer weekend (and there was a lot of northbound traffic as we headed back south that afternoon), but it was not at all crowded and very pleasant. (One of the perqs of retirement!) J & I headed back to the city again the next morning (Saturday), via a different route along rolling country roads. It brought home to me (not for the first time...!) just how vast this province and this country are (and how we really need to get out of the city more often to explore...!).
You can find more of this week's #MicroblogMondays posts here.
|Early evening on an inlet on Georgian Bay (Lake Huron, one of the Great Lakes).|
The stone structure to the right of the trees is an inukshuk.