Where have I been 🤷‍♂️

I have been remiss.

I haven’t been on this platform for 3 months. I don’t have a good explanation, other than COVID has rearranged my priorities.

And, a few bad habits have appeared ☹️

I didn’t get to Camp PedalWORKS this year, the 1st time in over a decade that I haven’t spent at least part of the summer there. Each year I look forward to the solitude, and less travelled, rural roads. It’s a time to refocus, train, and simplify. It didn’t happen this year.

During COVID I stopped reading and began watching more TV. Every morning I’d get up, make coffee, and watch the morning news, anxious to follow COVID developments, and the government’s economic responses.

What I miss most about Camp PedalWORKS is the simplicity. There’s no TV, and no internet. Instead, it’s a place where a lot of books are read, and many cycling miles are accumulated.

I still train. Harder in some ways. Fewer kilometres, but more climbing. I’m stronger and fitter than this time last year. It’s inevitable in these mountainous parts. But there’s something missing.

I’m going to hit the reset button, and stop some of the COVIDian habits. Less TV. And more reading.

Instead of watching the morning news, I plan to read, or write. It’s what I do when at Camp PedalWORKS. I make a cup of coffee and get back under the covers until I’m ready for a ride, or workout.

That doesn’t sound difficult. Does it?

Reset.

Done 😂

☕️ ✍️📚 🚴🏻

Back to the cottage … 😀

I’m heading back to the cottage for 2 months this week. As you read this, I am very likely on the way.

Growing up, my family spent most weekends, and summer holidays at the cottage where our focus was largely on the waterfront. Swimming, fishing, and water skiing occupied our time. But things have changed. I still enjoy the water. Who wouldn’t. But over the past decade, I have travelled there with a road bike, and began exploring the area by bike on roads I never knew existed. Quiet, paved, rural roads traversing the countryside beside lakes sprinkled with unpretentious cottages, newly discovered grasslands home to an extensive variety of wetland birds, and large, prosperous farms.

Yes, this is farm country nestled amongst numerous lakes.

When I head out the back door, I can choose from a variety of routes. Some longer than others. Some more difficult than others. Some by water. Some alongside farms. All are quiet. There is very little traffic. No traffic lights. Only the occasional stop sign. A few cars, and a tractor once in awhile. Mostly, it is just me, fresh country smells, spellbinding views, grazing cattle, and a few horses.

I enjoy the time alone. Actually, the more time I spend there, the more I realize how important it is to be alone. It’s therapeutic. Cathartic. Empowering. It’s an opportunity to get in touch with my thoughts, feelings, and priorities. When I am with others, no matter how much I may enjoy their company, there is always compromise, even on small matters. Like when to eat. Or, what to eat. What to do. Where to go. The list is endless. When I’m alone, my needs are simple. I cycle in the morning, eat a simple diet mostly of fresh vegetables and fruit, read a lot (there is no TV or internet), and work on the place.

There is always something to do.

When its time to return home, I’m always conflicted. I have heard it said that “home is where your heart is”. Gaius Plinius Secundus, a Roman philosopher first said this over 2,000 years ago. Imagine that. Well, my heart is at the cottage, and I never realized it until I began spending more time there alone.

The place is my refuge, personal get away, and salvation.

 

No TV …

IMG_3168

View from the new floating dock (July 1015)

I haven’t watched television or listened to commercial radio for a month. No news. No sports. No movies. And, no top 10 pop countdowns. I do have wi-fi (via my Personal Hotspot), so I’m able to work. Stay in touch. And, public radio. The CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation). It’s informative, Canadian focused, intellectual, entertaining, and commercial free. But no TV. I missed the Stanley Cup Finals. The drama in Greece. Negotiations with Iran. The US Open. The Tour de France. Wimbledon. The Pan-Am Games. And I haven’t watched a movie in over a month.

Do I miss it? No. Not at all. I read more. Write. Work. And, cycle. Read. Write. Work. And, cycle. If I am not work-working, I am working around the cottage. Building a laundry room and a third bedroom. Gardening. There is always something to do. Something in need of repair. I am more active, eat less, and sleep more.

I have also been alone the entire month. No guests. Just me, and the boys. Chas and Lou. I have people to talk with, if I want. Neighbours. The young woman that operates the swing bridge at the end of the road. Clerks at the food store. Staff at the building supply store. And the women at the coffee shop where I sometimes stop on the return leg of a ride.

Time alone, without commercial interruption, is enlightening. Empowering. Stimulating. You focus on what is important to you without compromise. Without conflict. It is just you and your thoughts.

The cottage used to be a family place where Mom, Dad and I would spend weekends and holidays. When my father passed away, my mother continued to use it regularly with her girl friends. She said it became a girls place. When she passed away, I initially thought about selling it. I live a continent away. But I began travelling to Toronto on business regularly and would steal long weekends and shortened holidays here. Usually alone. Sometimes with family. Slowly, it became my place. My retreat. A place to relax, unwind, and refocus. A place to train and cycle. A place to momentarily escape. I like that. Momentary escape. Isn’t that what a bike ride is? A time when the when the worries of the world melt away. That’s what this place is.

This is all about to change. My son and 13-year old grandson are arriving next week for a holiday. There will be a lot of fishing, swimming, and boating going on. It won’t be so quiet. No. It won’t be quiet at all. But it will be fun.