From July 6-13th this summer I took a much needed week off and went to my grandparents cabin out in the wilderness of Northwestern Ontario. I only get there once every couple of years. The cabin, or ‘my camp’, is my favorite place in the whole world; my heaven on earth, there is no place I would rather be. I promised myself that once I graduated I would spend some time out there.
It’s rustic. It’s no million-dollar lakefront log cabin, but to me it’s perfect. It’s built up on cinder blocks, uses water from the lake, and has power sometimes at night, if my grandfather is willing to fire up the old generator. My grandfather built this cabin from the ground up. He and my grandma, as well as their three children, would head out to the property and pitch a tent, where they would sleep after long days of working on the soon to be cabin.
For myself, there is simply nothing that can measure up to this place. When I am away from it, I am filled with the memories, and when I am there, I am mesmerized by its sheer beauty and the pristine wilderness. It is perfection. The smell of my grandma’s homemade cinnamon buns, my grandfather out in the shed trying to fix the latest broken down knick-knack, the distant call of the loons at sunset, the humming birds passing overhead, the bald eagle swooping over with it’s fresh bass catch, the fireflies lighting up the field late at night, the moon glistening its reflection over the still lake, boat trips out to the fishing reef, the islands, the ‘sunken ship’ (which I discovered was just an old fishing boat), picking strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, exploring everywhere and everything… the list never ends. All of these things are sheer perfection; they mean the world to me.
As Hans and I have travelled Alberta chatting with landowners, I have gotten a taste of their heaven on earths. These homes and family farms are filled with stories and memories, and it has been an honor for these people to take us around their land and share it with us. To see these peoples’ faces light up as they take us to ‘their hill’, the pond where the kids play, the old fishing slew, or their favorite place on the land… There is just an inexplicable feeling to be there in the flesh, and to see these people on their land, their homes. It reminds me of the feeling I get when I pull up the lane to my cabin.
Now not to long ago while I was working on this project I had a dream. In this dream I was going out to my cabin, the first time in a long while. As I pulled into my secluded little cabin, built up on cinder blocks, out in the middle of the forest, I looked out across the lake. It was filled with oil tankers, and directly across the lake there was oil and gas development. Forest was torn down, and my little lake of just 8 cabins was filled with this huge, new industrialized technology. It was absolutely devastating. I was just going to my cabin for my latest escape, and there it all was … and it was completely out of my control.
When I woke up I was completely set back, felt sick to my stomach, and I couldn’t shake the feeling all day, it literally crushed my soul.
I guess the lucky thing for me was that I got to wake up from this nightmare.
This dream brought new realities by evoking these feelings in me. I believe that I experienced a glimpse of the heartache that many Albertans are facing since their lives and lands have been compromised.