Sunday, August 21, 2011

Adventures in Collingwood (Saturday August 20, 2011)

This journey would have taken days in a wagon or on a horse, but we spend two hours in our car, heading north along the escarpment. We drive between the ranks of lazy high-spired wind turbines and the bodies of dead porcupines, down the mountainside and into a land of big farms and small villages,  thunderclouds overhead.

Collingwood is hosting jazz but the storm moves in and the musicians run for cover. We eat food on the only patio table immune to rain. Soon we are sitting in a river and the waiter periodically tips the awning to preempt a downpour. Soaked shoppers huddle from the threat of lakefront lightning.

The storm retreats momentarily. We drive out to the famous grain elevator and explore the wet loading bays, our hair standing on end in a way that is both comical and scary. A loon darts underwater and reappears an impossible distance away, and he does this over and over, a game he plays for tourists.

Up Blue Mountain in the pounding rain which threatens to wash us back down the muddy bike trails. Our scenic view is of gray slopes and distant mist. Back down the mountain, we visit the artificial Village, a mirage, a magical entertainment tower which intimidates humans and engineers. Near the bathrooms, the wobbling mercury bubble inside a broken fire alarm is a mystery revealed to me.

Beach. The rain has stopped but people find no joy on a suddenly-chilly overcast day. We roll up our clothes and walk through the waves, shuffling over mud and rocks to a picnic table surrounded by tidewater. A joyful dog stumbles over our buried feet which swarm with minnows. Far off: a flat island covered with weeds, a Canadian flag its only vertical feature. When the tide goes out we leave.

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