When was the last time you unplugged from the beastly tech loop? Are you too an addict?
Years of dawn checks on news buzz, old newsroom habits, have worn me down, inured to the menace of the blue light, blinking at my bedside. Eyesight loopy, focus fraught, white coats can’t save me.
But this can.
The little polar bear camp badge in my childhood scrapbook is proof I’ve long loved to shock my bleary system with a morning dip, if presented conveniently with a lake like the one here, tucked into the northwest corner of Algonquin Park.
Slip past the snoring bliss, shush the pooch. She thinks being up signals a walk, instead of standing guard on the dock.
Camp safety drills stick even if one needs a better spotter than Lucy, stripped of her mane (thanks to a lazy groomer, no longer fluffy.)
Waiting it out for fellow polar dippers is a treat. Armed with a most excellent story, I join the morning as it settles in.
Good thing I remember how. A few mornings in, and my mind has left the race, veered over to the sunny patch of grass, waved a cheery salute to the breathless pack as they pass.
What if someone can’t reach me?
Most of my tribe is here, snoozing in peace. Others know where to hunt us down. Friends know I’ve escaped, if not the hideout. Contacts have been contacted. Meetings, schmeetings-I’m having a consult with the birds.
How will I work?
The blog can wait, ferment a bit, dough in the fridge hold, waiting to be rolled. Manuscripts can be packed-writers write anywhere, or so the theory goes. Surely, across the mist is inspiration enough, an Algonquin island retreat where therapy is freely found in sunrise and sunset views to gorge on daily. Meanwhile, there’s this. A dock. Shimmering silence. Skyscapes smooth but for the lone paddle boarder in the horizon, dipping rhythmically as the lake wakes.
What about the house? The garden?
On mornings like these, I invent systems where all I need is this, where I shed things and weights of worry like basement floods and break-ins. My garden, city haven and storer of secrets, knows to wait. Ivy will climb and curl. Weeds will threaten but not win.
So this then is balance?
I don’t believe in balance. We’re all a little tipped. Tree huggers can preach but we are way far gone for total tech abstinence. Shutting off the valve is one answer, a regular tweak to halt tweets. Works for this worker.
Wholeness is what I grip onto, feeling it all, not sleep walking through the urban tunnel, attached by suction cups to phones, kindles, tablets…
Here, on this annual family holiday, shepherded by the good man that is my only brother, I find it.
There are other sites I seek, one beckoning broadly at me in days to come but that’s another chapter, full of exuberant sea spray, lobster rolls, maybe a roll in the dunes.
Right here, in the now, it’s this morning. Look well to this day…
I hear footsteps. I’ll have company soon for this chilly refresher. We’re a little off, we family dippers. Lucy knows it.
This place becomes this in the fall. I’ll be back then too.