Jul 4, 2009

manitoulin, day 1

Friday, July 3, 2009

We are driving Northwest on a highway encompassed by metal railings, guiding families properly through the greenery and the forever untouchable swamps. We pass signs which inform riders that larger vehicles need more room. The first sign is in English, the second in French ten meters further. Half of these signs apply, and appeal to us. Fathers and sons typically discuss trout and the younger ones play mutually adored alphabet games, or I Spy, both in book and real form. Mothers and daughters speak of the recent celebrity faults, or the dead, or how cold they are.  Hours into the ride, packages, bags and containers of food have subconsciously been eaten and digested, giving credit mainly to the Arrow Roots, the ones with the baby on them. No, not Gerber’s, I think we’re all a little past that. The meters in the dash, inappropriately coloured bleeding orange, remain constant, as the father announces, “Zeus!” After the highway and its expanding nature has been touched on, the daughters climbs through the over sized pickup truck’s back window to fetch her father a sprinkley cupcake that was baked by his artist girlfriend, and then to embrace her also somewhat over sized dog, Benjamin. Don’t feel bad though, his owner even admits to the obviously experienced, but surprisingly female gas station employee that he, Ben, is larger than he is supposed to be. This is okay though, because Ben seems happily independent in his homey crate in the pickup portion of the truck. It’s character. The employee offers Ben a treat, and the owner accepts her distinct appreciation of the purebred, especially after conducting some sort of interview, searching for fast facts at rapid speeds about this lump sum of Ben that we have here. There he is; I look back. Nestled, lodged almost, but comfortably in his home located between the sandy wall of the pickup and the stuffed cooler, we the kids spot the man on the moon filling up, somewhat like us. Maybe not the man, but he does look a lot like Thom Yorke from Radiohead, and/or Volcheck from The OC. Your pick. He at least holds some significance in the majority of our lives, us in the paused truck, stretched. We ask if his next destination is indeed the moon, but he just laughs. “Yes,” he may have said, egging us on, encouraging the youth, brightening a day, or maybe sharing with us the endless and forever expanding, transforming number of possibilities in life. In ours. In our lives. Hell, the daughter’s brother here wants to be an astronaut; I make the connection. The projects that are assigned in school that allow and encourage personal flair are the ones he most enjoys and excels in. He’s found something, and is running beside and along it. We stop at our first red light, and left turn, accidentally, supposedly. The trickster figure, injected with spontaneity and a love for life, we meet at last. Yes, you can have another cupcake. I push back a smile back down my throat once I discover my hidden, hibernating passion for the art of writing again, but smirk at the pair of twenty or so year old men on the left side of the highway; hitchhikers, prepared ones. Ones that seem overpacked and in need of a ride to Great Britain by the looks of it, with their big, crisp flag and all. All the best to you two, if you ever come across this acute explanation of my Friday that I’ve begun. For some reason, the two remind me of my outdoorsy cousin, and I feel like they’d have accents. Out of the bluest of blues, we collectively decide to drain our recently drained bladders and to stop also for bagels. The daughter notes that she’s “been here before,” looking as though she’s being introduced to a very talented man, genuinely, passionately. She resembles the memorable aunt at a family reunion that you hate because you only see her this time of the year, like a really unusual period, although she never bleeds, nor bruises. The first one. The one who opens doors and begins chapters; take that as figuratively as you’d like. I question myself; why didn’t I too buy an I heart N.Y. t-shirt when we were there together? If anything at all, I should’ve purchased a New York t-shirt. She notes that it’s fluffy now, and I, that it looks old, and that I like how it looks old. You can dress it both up, and down. It’s a flexible thing, this aged t-shirt of hers. The brother, not the astronaut, the other one, a guitarist, shuts his eyes against a leaning pillow in intervals, thinking; a dreamer. The father asks me if I’ve ever seen the big nickel before, because we are about to. I tell him no. Unfortunately, it’s 6:43p.m, and I am without a nickel picture. The father forgot to point it out, but don’t fret, because one day I will. All the cliffs and forests after another make it hard to appreciate because there’s so many of them. Like my book says, well, guide, “A single vase on a shelf can have more value and significance to your life than when it’s surrounded by a lot of other objects that detract from its singular beauty.” After experimenting heavily with the settings on my camera, taking photos of the Godlike lighting that is present, illuminating every pond and branch, we arrive around the hour of 8 for ham and corn and potatoes with bread and butter. The owner of the cottage’s senior citizen puppy Zoe and I get along well from the start. I haven’t figured out Ben and Zoe’s relationship though. Not yet.

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Good morning Manitoulin, the fourth of July.  7/4/09

It sort of reminds me of the setting from the old Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer here, the slight curve of the ground and trees that surpass even the tallest man's height.

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