Bear With Me For Another Cottage Story


imagesA cottage in the woods, beds of various sizes, chairs of various degrees of comfort or discomfort, bears…The story of Goldilocks for today’s blog? Not quite, but there are quite a few similarities.

The cottage here by the lake has three bedrooms. One has a king size bed, one a Queen size bed, and the third has (well, here is where the story diverges a bit) bunk beds. I know, I know, it’s supposed to be about hard, soft, and just-right beds, but I’m sure they were different sizes in the story too, so…moving on. When we first arrived Rolly said “You know, I love this bedroom right beside the lake, I love the way it overlooks the water and is so close that you can hear the waves lapping up against the shore.”

In fact the house is less than twenty feet away from the edge of the lawn, where it drops down no more than about twelve feet to the water over a rocky edge. The bed in this bedroom has a window two feet from the side of the bed Rolly prefers to sleep on at home, and there is another window only three feet away from the foot of the bed. It reminds me of Venice or how I imagine Venice would be, as I’ve not actually been there. Even the windows in the cottage are the old-fashioned kind like you might see there. They swing open on hinges, and back towards the wall when open, just like the ones in the Peter Pan movie that Peter and the children flew out of. These ones have screens though, to keep out Tinker Bell and the mosquitoes.

As the lake shore takes a jog at this corner of the yard and makes a near right angle turn out and away from the house there is a whole scenic shoreline to view from the bedside window. The docks and little boats become smaller and smaller as they recede into the background. The opposite side of the lake is perhaps only a mile away with its painter’s delight of trees, docks, and rocks. As well as the terrific view, this is one of the few cottages in the area to also have its own sand beach. After lying down for a few quick winks, after the hectic drive up through heavy traffic, Rolly has made up his mind. This is the room he wants. The leaves on the trees rustle and the water laps against the rocks, and the loons begin to call at twilight. The other night-time creatures can easily be heard from this vantage point as well. Even a fish leaps from time to time with a huge splash from a deep area in the water that seems to be the local fishermen’s favourite spot, just out from the turn in the shore. The place is truly praiseworthy and it brings to mind the first few lines of a hymn by St. Francis of Assisi: “All creatures of our God and King, Lift up your voices, let us sing Alleluia, Alleluia!” …Yes truly praiseworthy!

But for me, the one major drawback with the room would be that the sound of water when I am half asleep causes me to only think of one thing. I know this from having one of those sound machines at home that’s supposed to block out other noises and help you relax enough to fall asleep (which it doesn’t). I don’t want to have to stumble through almost the length of the entire cottage in the pitch dark to find the bathroom every time the power of suggestion kicks in. No, for me I will take the King size bed in the spacious room just beside the bathroom, where I can plug a night-light into the receptacle. I’ll do my praising in the morning, with the daytime creatures, thank you very much!

I chose well. Rolly was bleary eyed at the breakfast table the next day. Apparently the night critters were in the mood to have an enthusiastic choir practice til the wee hours of the morning. What must have been an enormous old bullfrog warmed up for the bass section with his fog horn like sounds for several hours, and a number of  insecure dogs across the lake practised their soprano solos and duets over and over and over. Perhaps they could hear the wolves showing off from the Haliburton Forest Wolf  Enclosure in the distance. As I am now in the habit of sleeping with ear plugs, in order to tune out my snoring partner, I popped them in as usual and had an incredibly restful sleep.

“Do you know we had a bear visit last night?” Rolly said when he returned from a quick stroll down to the beach. I threw on a pair of flip-flops and rushed out to check it out for myself. Sure enough, there in the damp sand were the deep-clawed paw prints of a middle-sized bear, meandering across the beach and then up the sandy path toward the cottage, until they gradually disappeared where the grassy lawn began. This visit had happened while I lay fast asleep in the large spacious bedroom with its wide-open screened windows on three sides, the part of the house closest to the path. Three of the six windows were within easy reach of a hungry bear if he had chosen to check out the accessibility to breakfast. I know I’ve often said “I feel like a bear in the morning.” but in no way should it be construed in the same sense as “I feel like a coffee in the morning.” like “One right here by the side of my bed as soon as I wake up would be nice!”

Well, I guess I’m no Goldilocks, despite my fresh new hair colour ,and so I wasn’t wakened up by a bear, unless you count the one who was grumpily bumping around in the kitchen, looking for four matching sized cans of anything. He wanted to put them under the dining room table legs because whenever he sat down on any of the chairs he bumped his knees against the drawers craftily built-in underneath it. When I joined him for a bowl of Oatmeal Crisp (too hot for porridge) I ended up with my chin about two inches from the bowl. My chair was now too low for the newly risen table. (There must be a better way to say that. It sounds a lot like we were having a séance) Grumpy refused to remove the cans of salmon and tuna which esthetically looked like carp, so we ate in silence.

Despite our little moments, Rolly and I truly do have a great relationship; I know that even his 90 decibel snoring has its purpose. I’m sure the Haliburton dump bear that visited last night thought Ursa Arctos Horribilis was inside, and veered away from the house without pause. A grizzly ending to my story? Maybe yes, maybe no.


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