Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls-6

Niagara Falls, from the Canadian side

A classic bit of slapstick from Abbott and Costello…

Until recently at least, three places stand out in Canada for Japanese visitors: Banff, Niagara Falls, and PEI (Anne of Green Gables still carries weight here). Last summer I took R. to Banff; this summer we made it to Niagara Falls. Continue reading “Niagara Falls”

Georgian Bay Odyssey Rewrite


Georgian Bay Odyssey

Kayaking the timeless “sweetwater sea”

Around me a pod of kayakers lies beached in their sleeping bags as the drama of moon and stars and clouds plays out overhead, and I wonder what this ever-changing weather has in store for us. Part-way into a week-long trip hopping among Georgian Bay’s 30000 islands, lying on an exposed piece of pink granite, water to the horizon in front and behind, I can’t for the life of me think what day it is.

Kayaks carry us into a world measured in geologic time as we pass rocks older than dinosaurs. We wake with the sun and linger over breakfast. When the wind whistles in the trees or lightning flashes along the waterlogged horizon, we dash for shore and squat on our life jackets. When the sun shines, we play in the water like kevlar-skin seals.

We invented time to describe experience. Everything has a beginning, a middle, and an end. In class, my students read Robert Frost’s poem “Nature’s First Green Is Gold” as an allegory of the seasons as stages in life: spring is childhood, the shortest and best. Summer and autumn follow, and all too soon so do the short, dark days of winter.

We measure everything this way: holidays, careers, relationships, lifespans. This sense of inevitability makes it hard to get older, with summer over just as we start to enjoy it. All we have to look forward to, we imagine, is the long, hard winter lying in wait for us. But the flux of weather under the stars and on the water reminds me that the world constantly changes, and so do we. There is no real beginning or end. Rain gives way to sun; wind and clouds are replaced with a preternatural calm — followed by a line squall blowing in from somewhere else, over the horizon.