Retreat of Perfection

I am sitting in wondrous silence, starring out the window at a beautiful orchard that slopes down to a pond surrounded by an abundant forest.  It's an overcast day in this country oasis home of my cousin Marcel and his beautiful wife Kathy, due north of Guelph and just a few kilometres east of Fergus.  We love this place, we love the people, and we love the way we feel when we are here.

We arrived mid-afternoon, eastern time, after rising at the crack of dawn in Fort McMurray, shortly before 4 am, to catch a 6 am flight to Edmonton then on to Toronto.  Our gang - along with Claude who was staying at our house while doing the Search for Cosette contest and also had an early morning flight back to Vancouver - was surprisingly chipper and talkative as we piled into the community taxi van after a long weekend of interPLAY.  Between the five of us, well over 80 hours had been logged at Fort McMurray's signature summer celebration.  The taxi driver was chuckling to himself listening to the animated conversation at that stunningly early hour of the morning.

Arriving at Pearson International Airport, we rented a car and within 25 minutes of hitting the tarmac, we were merging on to the 401 heading south - unlike the last time we were here as a family and I mistakenly went the other way.  As the rest of the family slept in the car after the red eye flight, I came to the shocking conclusion when I saw the Ajax sign that I needed to turn around.

The moment we turned off Canada's busiest highway yesterday, it was as if we were in a whole new world, quaint, agricultural, pastoral.  All of a sudden, most everybody was happy going at a leisurely pace, as were we, craning our necks to see 100 year old farm houses, beautiful barns, and majestic corn fields, stalks rising to kiss the sky.

Marcel and Kathy's "farm" is amazing for a whole host of reasons: its beautiful gardens and trees, pond teeming with frogs and toads, inviting patio deck complete with weathered Muskoka chairs, and a wonderful house with art from family and friends in every single room.

Even the out-of-tune piano, which Ben tinkled with for hours last night, adds to the aurora of the space.  The discordant notes, bookended by sonorous ones that haven't lost their flavour or pitch, seemed to make perfect surrounded by animated conversations, baby crawling on the floor, and the sensation that time was standing still.

After a late dinner, we enjoyed some amazing re-connection time gathered around the dining table. This place inspires conversation, reflection, appreciation, exploration and restoration.

Wind chimes have just broken the silence, penetrating musical notes, dancing with the wind, reminding us that we are being blessed by this retreat's perfection.


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