My Summer Place

Eighty years ago my grandparents discovered their summer place. A small piece of land in a village on the southern edge of Georgian Bay. I wish I knew how they came to know about the land, as they lived in Toronto and the trip north was not an easy one in the 1930s. But even more interesting to me is why they bought it and the legacy it has left for our family. I think that I can answer that now, as this has also become my summer place.
It begins with colours, sounds and smells. Its the contrasts in its character. Its the horsehair wisps of white on powder blue skies. The dappled light and shadow through a canopy of oak. The gentle breeze off the water lifting the heat from sweating skin. The soft rain that calls us out to jump and play then like the prankster she is turns menacing and chases us home squealing. Then soothes us to sleep with a rooftop lullaby. Its the wash of childlike painting on the sky at evening time that draws us to attention in awe and wonder at its perfection. Its where joys can be as small as the grain of sand in our toes and annoyances are only as big as a mosquito. Where memories are made through barbeques, campfires, water fights and horseshoes. Its where friendships have been made and renewed annually for decades by saying happy new year in May and Merry Christmas in October. It is where you learn to be still for then you can watch mink play at waters edge and hummingbirds argue at feeders. You can admire the tenacity of terns diving and osprey fishing. You can wonder at the ancient songs of frogs and the lumbering awkwardness of turtles as they lay their eggs. You can be privileged to have chipmunks eat from your hands. And in learning that stillness, you feel a connectedness and reverence to past and present. It is the simplicity in the midst of all that complexity.
This is why 80 years ago my grandparents came, why my parents stayed and why my children grandchildren clamour to visit. And it is why it has been my summer place through all the seasons of my life.

Cathy Smith




April 13, 2014


Night (my poem)

My name is Eileen and I belong to the Thursday writing group. I plan to post a poem or story every once in a while. I hope you enjoy…


I wonder will I hear the nightingale sing,
as the cloak of night covers day?
When it comes
will I watch nymphs at play
or see darker gnomes
as I stand alone
in the shadows?

What happens in the dead of night
while innocent souls
wander in their sleep?
Do phantoms fly?
crawling on the ground as they land
swallowing an unsuspecting victim.

Do the people stir in their sleep
subconsciously communicating
with shrill cries of darting bats
and the flutter of their wings?
Marking the coolness of night
they crease the surface of the human brain.

On the brown dark earth
mice scatter among roots
All seems lost
as the owl with feathery power
pushes the air
picks his prey
drifts effortlessly up
to a nearby branch
the smell of blood
on his beak.

Red crested rooster crows
as the pale yellow dawn
streams across the night bruised sky.

A paler moon now sits on a lower seat
merging slowly with the blue.

I a violet shadow
with cold blood, knotted stomach
and twitching brain
make my way to bed,
hearing faint echoes of a nightingale’s song.

Eileen Egerton Lampard