Just off the end of the dock…

by Gordon Clark – Camp Big Canoe Lifer

An Ode to the Bottom of Hart Lake

There is a place I like to go at camp. Unlike the noise, laughter and general whirlwindy-ness of Big Canoe, this place is quiet and calm. It is cool on hot days and rarely busy. It is squishy. There is a good metre that I am not sure technically meets the requirements for being either solid or liquid. We save white jugs from this space during search and rescue several times a summer. Although the jugs’ return trips seem rather forced, I know that many of us seek out this space. Campers like to return with small handfuls of mud to prove they have been there. I like to return with cinder blocks, half-decayed chairs, watches, sunglasses and so many old bathing suits that I wonder what people do between losing their bathing suit and leaving the beach. I literally brought something up from the bottom of the ‘diving area’ every single day I worked on the beach at Big Canoe. I am convinced it has a certain “Bermuda Triangle” quality and an endless supply of treasures to find.

What I like most of all though, is diving off the dock, doing one front flip under water and slowly drifting down to the bottom, where I stomp my feet into the ‘muck’ and just be still. I am not sure why I like this so much or if there is a lesson to be gained. Maybe it is the harsh juxtaposition between the screams of free swim and the silence of the bottom of the lake. Maybe it is that it is a cold place on a hot day. Maybe it is that you can’t breath so each moment is fairly fleeting and limited. Maybe I just like it. Of all the special places at camp, one that I keep going back to is the bottom of the lake — just off the end of the dock.

Author Bio

Camp Big Canoe is a not-for-profit overnight recreational camp for kids ages 6-16 in Muskoka, Ontario, Canada

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