The sun is beginning to peek over the billowy grey-white cumulous clouds that are swiftly moving across a deep blue sky as I write this. Summer is less than a month away. We've had quite cool weather here lately and summer clothes have been tucked back away temporarily. Everyone bemoans having to turn their heat on in the morning to take the chill off of the previous night's air.
The weather has followed my mood somewhat for the past week and a half. I've been a bit mellow and contemplative as I settle into the fact that my dear Uncle Bear is gone. He's my first Uncle/Aunt to pass away and I will miss him greatly.
An avid outdoorsman, he and my Dad were my co-teachers on the road to becoming a fine fisherwoman. In addition to his regular job, he often worked as a guide on Lake Nippissing for the numerous Americans who came up to fish for pickerel (walleye).
He knew that lake like the back of his palm.
During the many lake crossings I took in his boat, when headed to Sandy Island for holidays, I was never afraid; no matter how rough the lake became. He could handle a boat on rough water better than anyone I've ever known and he had a 6th instinct for the waves and the wind and could find his way through thick fog long before modern GPS systems became available.
I recall many times sitting beside him in his small sunporch, at his cottage on Sandy Island, watching for loons and passing boats.
He could spot a loon instantly and seemed to know them all as individuals. He would hand me the binoculars and point in the direction where he'd last seen the loon and a gentle peace would encompass us as a loon call echoed across the lake, seemingly in his direction.
He knew every boat that crossed the Nippissing and he would announce who was arriving at the island as the boat slowly came into view.
When I was young, I couldn't wait to get to my Aunt and Uncle's on our trips north to Sturgeon Falls every summer and sometimes during holidays.
Immediately after receiving one of my Aunt's warm and welcoming hugs, I would wait for my Uncle to sit down knowing that if I stood in his vicinity, he would swoop me up and sit me on his knee and then talk like Donald Duck while I sat enthralled in a child's heaven.
His ashes now lay scattered across his beloved Sandy Island and as his spirit gazes down upon the many generations of his family, the loons will call to him and remind him that all of the universe is one and no one is ever lost to anyone else, as long as we have memories and keep love in our hearts.
On the 5 1/2 hour drive home from Sturgeon Falls, where his memorial service was held, I drove through Algonquin Park.
There, near the side of the road and a small wetland, was a great and peaceful creature. I thought of my Uncle when I spotted her and stopped to take a picture.
Moose are quite prevalent in Algonquin Park, however not every trip through the park yeilds such a magnificent view as this.
The north feels like home to me and it's where my heart always longs to be.
My soul feels completely content and in total peace when the pine needles crunch beneath my feet against sandy soil and lichened granite. At night the lonely call of the Whip-Poor-Will carries out across the tall treetops seeming to pause when a lone wolf howls in the distance.
The north is made of hardy landscapes that stand out against the test of time and, much like my Uncle had done, they follow the seasons closely, adapting as they go.
Each season has it's beauty, each creature has it's uniquely beautiful contribution to make to the song that is the north, and each person who's heart abides there, leaves a piece of themselves that can never be forgotten.
Jo-Anne Smith, the author of this article, is a REALTOR® with Your Choice Realty , Burlington, Oakville and Mississauga, Ontario and welcomes your real estate inquiries. To contact her by email: Email Jo-Anne Smith