We fly home this evening. West across the Canadian Shield. West across the prairies towards the rugged ridges of the Rockies that line the horizon, and, as one rancher said, “block the view”.
The view here at the edge of the lake is peaceful. Grey on white clouds spread themselves across the sky, drifting aimlessly by. The lake ripples where bugs flit and fish jump to catch them. A Bluejay calls from the feeder and a chipmunk chatters in a tree.
We are flying home.
Yesterday, Andrew took the ‘younger women’ on a boat ride down the lake, through the narrows into Madawaska River. As we drifted slowly down the placid channel, his brother, Conrad, appeared on his SeaDoo and invited me to climb on. I ditched my compatriots in the boat and climbed aboard.
What a blast! We sped across the surface of the lake, water pluming behind us. The sun was red hot. The water wet and refreshing against my face where it sprayed up to hit me. We sped down the river to the far end where two dams block the flow, creating energy for the valley. Back again, up the river, under the bridge in Combermere, through the channel and out into the wide open lake where the wind had picked up and the waters were choppy.
“A miracle is when the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A miracle is when one plus one equals a thousand.”
― Frederick Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace
Yesterday was a day of miracles and wonder. A day where doing the math added up to a whole lot of magic.
From skimming across the lake on a SeaDoo to walking barefoot across a blanket of pine needles into the forest to spy into a birchbark hut some unknown wayfarer created years ago in the quiet of the sheltering pines, to laughing and chatting amidst a group of friends celebrating the birthday of someone dear, to sitting on a dock with the delightful 12 year old granddaughter of the ‘birthday boy’ kicking the water with our feet and blowing bubbles from a giant wand to watch them float effortlessly down towards the water, it was a day of miracles and wonder.
And when it seemed it couldn’t get anymore full, we drove back from the birthday party in the silky darkness, down the dirt road towards the cottage, the trees pressing in on either side. As we reached the meadow that spreads out at the corner, just before we turn along the lake shore, we spied a deer standing at the side of the road. I turned off the lights and we sat in the dark watching her move slowly to the other side.
And that’s when we spied them.
Fireflies. Hundreds of them. Tiny bubbles of light shimmering in the darkness of the meadow beside the car, floating on the night air.
We sat breathless, our eyes wide as we watched the magic of their flight. Slowly, lights still off, I drove forward. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
When we returned to the cottage we were all still buoyed up by the beauty of what we’d witnessed. We sat and chatted and shared a glass of wine and laughed and spoke of the wonder of what we’d seen.
And then, we four ladies decided it was time. A new day had just been born and it was time to celebrate with one last dip into the lake. Shedding our clothes and donning robes, we traipsed down to the dock, turned out the flashlight and dove in.
Above us the stars littered the sky, a blanket of twinkling lights cast across the black velvet night like diamonds on a jeweller’s cloth. We found the Big Dipper and its brother. Cassiopeia. Aries. And a host of constellations we could not name all danced above us, their brilliance slipping in and out of the Milky Way that reached far and wide.
But even the light of the constellations could not dim the joyful sparkle of the fireflies that flit about us, skimming across the water.
These are the days of miracles and wonder.
We fly home today. Back to where my daughter is still displaced from her apartment. Back to where people are still digging out from the debris of a flood that swept the everyday happenings of my city away. Bact to where the Stampede goes on “Come Hell or High Water” in defiance of Mother Nature’s blast. Back to where my home calls me to return and be once more at peace.
We fly home and with me I carry memories of wedding vows and time with family. Of connecting once again with good friends, old and new. Of laughter and joy and relaxing in the sun. Of rain showers falling in the night, of chipmunks chattering and leaves rustling with the stories of the breeze.
And the magic of fireflies reminding me that there’s nothing to fear in the dark when I open my eyes to the miracles all around.