Friday, May 22, 2015

Letter from Whitfield Landing

May 21, 2015

Mid-afternoon. Out for a drive intended to skirt the city’s suburbs, but which has brought me to the back roads south of Peterborough Airport. Off the end of one of these roads is a narrow driveway leading me to a township park. I drive as far as I can go, which brings me to a parking lot where grass grows in between the loose stones.

Hopping out of the car, I notice a picnic table, a dock, and a sign: “Whitfield Landing.”

I walk down to the dock. It wobbles, but seems sturdy enough for me to sit down upon. The setting is what I always imagined being at the perfect cottage would be like (I’ve never been to a proper cottage, though that may be crossed off the bucket list later this summer). The Otonabee River flows gently in front of me, occasionally rocking the dock. Across the river, chairs line the backyards of waterfront homes, waiting for people to watch the sun go down. Apart from the occasional airplane, the only sounds are birds chirping. The postcard blue sky is dotted with puffy clouds.

The temptation is strong to slip off my socks and shoes to dip my toes in the river. Then I remember it’s still only May, and given the cool morning, frozen feet might spoil the mood. Instead, I open a notebook I brought to a meeting earlier this morning and jot down passing thoughts.

It is the perfect haven on a Thursday afternoon during a month where I’m starting to shape my future. A month ago I was a stress case, juggling winding down a job I needed to leave and a burst of freelance work. Today, these beautiful surroundings are lulling me into a state of serenity.

If somebody sailed by, they might glimpse a satisfied look spreading across my face.

OK, maybe the next great Coca-Cola ad campaign isn’t flowing through my brain. But thoughts are turning toward future plans.

Taking a moment to allow myself to fully relax and let my head fill with ideas is one of the elements I hope to achieve through my “regeneration” this spring. Clear it of the stresses, frustrations, worries, and fatigue-fueled anger coursing through my veins since last fall. Getting rid of things, physical and philosophical, which are cluttering my life. A rebuilding process to restore balance and discover new directions for my creative energy.

(Warning: you're going to hear a lot about "regeneration" in the next week. Get used to that word.)

For now, I’ll sit on the dock. Take in some good deep breaths. Admire the beauty of these surroundings. Embrace a satisfying life.

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