Take me to a place where gnarled cedars force their roots through ancient glacier-pitted rocks, clinging to the face of an escarpment that is older than humanity. A place where wild and rugged spaces harbour tranquility and awe. A place where the water is so clear and so clean and so cold that it steals your breath. A place where the sky stretches endlessly to a horizon so distant and blue that sky and water blend into one.
Let me follow the white blazes leading me through woods so quiet I can hear my heartbeat calming. Clamber over tangled roots below a canopy of whispering birch leaves and fragrant pines. Their fallen rust-coloured needles blanket stretches of the path, cushioning into silence any footsteps. The serenity is tangible, radiating from moss-covered boulders and sun-dappled forest floor. The trail meanders onward, winding, weaving, wandering until the trees give way to Georgian Bay.
Give me nothing but that moment. That breakthrough when cool and shaded forest ends abruptly, the rocky ground plunges—the place where horizontal becomes vertical and high up there on top of the world a chance gap in the tree line reveals a panorama like no other.
There is no colour that could compare to that Georgian Bay blue, no sight that could ever outshine a hundred different shades of cerulean and turquoise that meld in a gradient from the bottomless depths to the shallowing rock ledges that step up to the shore. The depth draws with irresistible force, an invitation.
Send me climbing down switchback pathways over boulders to the water’s edge. I’ll plunge. Down and down and down into the deep and cleansing cold until I burst again up through the surface reborn. Flat on my back, weightless, silent, I will float in complete peace, all tethers severed, all burdens and restraints completely shed. This is the place where I am home. This is the place where I am me.