Wednesday, July 7, 2010

An Idyllic Summer Morning

West Lake
I should have known when the blueberry muffins turned out so well that our trip to the lake would be perfect. I am no baker, usually forgetting an ingredient or trying to substitute something unworkable; so perfect baking is a good omen.

Every summer, we make a few trips to West Lake, a provincial park only 15 minutes from home. We brew coffee, usually buy muffins on the way (a surplus of blueberries and milk called for the home-baked kind), take our books and our portable lawn chairs, and off we go for a couple of hours of early morning quiet and soul-renewing scenery.

The beach is quiet, usually until around ten, when the mothers with kids start to arrive; by eleven on a warm summer day, it's really filling up.

This morning, we were not the first to arrive, as we often are. A lone canoeist, possibly in his late sixties, had already paddled the 3.5 miles to the end of the lake and back and was taking his canoe to his car. We chatted briefly with him and moved on to find a spot beside the lake, amongst the trees.

After settling  down with book, coffee, and muffin, I looked up to see a loon directly in front of me, quite close as he dove for fish. I tracked his path across the water - he would dive and re-surface maybe fifty feet further on. He made no call, but his beauty more than made up for it.

The fish were jumping, and at the water's edge, we could see dozens of fish, from tiny minnows to larger fish, maybe 5 or 6 inches long.

That many fish means eagles hunting, and there are several nesting eagles at the lake. We have sat on occasion with one directly above us in the trees. They are so majestic, circling, looking for fish, then swooping down, pulling a fish from the water. We could see one later in the trees on the shore, eating his catch.

The other notables were big yellow butterflies and bright blue tiny dragonflies.

People sometimes ask whether I miss life in Vancouver, sitting on Robson at an outdoor cafe, relaxing after shopping, and watching the crowds walk by. And sometimes I do - urban life has much to offer.

But on days like today, I would rather be nowhere else than beside West Lake, drinking coffee, eating my perfect blueberry muffins, and watching the wildlife.



(The pictures of West Lake are mine from a couple of years ago; the picture of the loon is not.)

10 comments:

Hels said...

My compromise, if money allowed, would be to have the family house in the centre of Vancouver (for all the obvious wonderful reasons) and a small, rural shack well outside town. That way you can leave work every Friday afternoon and head for two days of serenity and wild life. Or every second Friday afternoon.

I was delighted to see that a lone canoeist in his late sixties, had already paddled the 3.5 miles to the end of the lake and back. Good on him :)

ChrisJ said...

Hels,

When you live in Vancouver, you can get up at 3a.m., travel for miles, climb a mountain, and ford a stream and there will already be several people there ahead of you.
The rural house would have to be about as far away as I live now - 500 miles!

I hope I can canoe 7 miles when I'm in my late sixties.

Judie said...

Here in Tucson, if we want to get away from the heat of summer, we can drive about an hour up the Catalina Highway to the top of Mount Lemmon (about 10,000 feet). There is a small town there called Summerhaven, with a restaurant that serves the most wonderful homemade pies! It is cool and peaceful up there in the forests.

I can certainly relate to your post!

ChrisJ said...

Judie,

Summerhaven sounds like a really nice place. Homemade pie and the cool forest; it doesn't get much better that that.

askcherlock said...

The photos show us such idyllic scenes. Simply gorgeous! Thanks for the sweet moments you have shared. You could do a tourist guide, you know. :)

ChrisJ said...

Cher,

Maybe when I retire, I could be a tourist guide - might be fun!

Ciss B said...

What wonderful way to spend a morning! The lake sounds so idyllic!

I am a huge fan of loons, too. I love their call, it's so haunting. We have them on remote lakes in Northern Michigan, but we have eagles right on the lake here. I have seen them hunt in the winter on the ice after the fishermen have left their holes in the ice in years past. They are really magnificent to watch.

Trulyfool said...

Chris,

This is exactly how life should be spent.

TFool

ChrisJ said...

Christi,

I think your part of Michigan and my part of BC are similar in many ways.

ChrisJ said...

TFool,

Exactly, and wonderful to be there and know that.