We’re spending a week with family at Black Donald Lake, just outside of Calabogie, Ontario. To get here, one must drive the Calabogie Road, which is ridiculously fun to say. Try it. Calabogie Road. Calabogie Road. Calabogie (Boogie Woogie) Calabogie Road!
Admit it, you’re smiling now.
We’ve crammed 8 adults and 8 kids into four bedrooms and we’re having a marvelous time. Our spot on the lake has a great little shallow beach that is truly perfect for the kids, plus a play structure and a slanted “climbing wall” for when they tire of splashing in water and playing in sand.
There’s a long floating dock and a paddleboat and a canoe. I finally had the opportunity, for just the second time in my life, to try paddling solo. In our thirteen years together, I’ve done a lot of paddling with Michael, both on rivers and lakes; I long ago learned the J-stroke, the draw, the pry, the scull, the sweep… but never really got to see if I could actually steer a canoe for myself.
With so many other adults around, it was easy to make my escape and paddle to the spit of land a small way down the lake. Coming back was more challenging, as I once again learned how much wind can affect the direction of a canoe, especially one so wide and so lightly-laden. But I lived to tell the tale and even had time to think philosophically about my lifelong fear of failure and the damage perfectionism can do.
We’ve eaten like kings, having arrived with enough groceries to pack both the fridges here, plus a couple of coolers, not to mention all the unrefrigerated food overflowing over the laundry room counters.
It’s the first time, since our families have gelled into their current configurations, that we’ve had the chance to really spend time together, to really get to know each other. And for the cousins to get to know each other, too.
In short, this truly feels like a vacation, and I can’t quite remember the last time I felt that.