This weekend we closed the cottage. Having grown up in landlocked Alberta, the world of cottaging was all new to me when I moved here 28 years ago. And sometimes, it still feels foreign. Out west, people go “to the lake” or “the cabin”. Here, the family cottage sits on a river and “the cabin” is the small, winterized building on the property.
The first time I ever saw the cottage was in the winter of 1982. Tim and I had come to Ontario to spend Christmas with his family and friends. For New Year’s Eve, we were going skiing and stopped at the cottage on our way. We must have cross-country skied in, which would have been a first for me. I don’t remember much, except the quiet. It was so peaceful.
The cottage is still a quiet place in the winter, and often times during the week in the summer. The weekends, though, are a different story. The river is like a thoroughfare, transporting people at such a pace and with such frequency you can forget that gas is extraordinarily expensive.
The cottage has become a place that allows me to take some of my favourite shots because of the slower pace. Up and away from the river, even the insects seem to slow down. This weekend, I spent a significant amount of time photographing a bee and although I was very close to it, the insect was so intent on its work that it never seemed to be bothered by me. Perhaps the fact that I held on to the stem of the flower, preventing it from swaying in the wind and ruining my shot, also allowed the bee to be more productive. It was a win-win.
The photos below are ones that I took throughout the spring, summer and fall “up north”. The cottage life may not have started out familiar to me, but the many photo opportunities it provides offer an appeal that is wholly unique.