St. Lawrence River, ON - Charles Low
My Watermark is St. Lawrence River, Ontario.
First of all, nothing gives a sense of connection, when you're living inland, than the simple knowledge that a thousand miles downstream is the ocean. Theoretically, you can get anywhere from here. All you need is a boat. The ocean gives up its water to the sky, and eventually it ends up back in rivers, like this one: all connected. The logic of that need not intrude: it's a feeling.
Secondly, our St. Lawrence River boating stories are numerous, and many of them inextricably revolve around family bonding. Among them, I relish this one, about my mother.
My mother had lived a largely urban life, and used to laugh that "if God had wanted us to sleep in tents, she wouldn't have made hotels!" Not that she was a homebody, or inactive - but she had not actively pursued recreation in the Great Outdoors, perhaps because she had been raised in a farming community, and possibly because memories of trying to eke out a Prairie living during the depression had not endeared her to the Land. It never occurred to me to ask.
Because I was her son, and because boating had grabbed a hold of me quite suddenly when I was well into my thirties, she would come boating with me ... and with her grandchildren. She gave every appearance of enjoying it, swimming, hiking around the island parks, and of course just sometimes being blissfully underway, on a boat. We fixed meals, we played cards and told stories, we slept over ... all wonderful. (My father was also there, but he needed no prompting.)
Early on in that new-to-her activity, we were sitting by the shore of Harvey Island, near Brockville, Ontario, one evening. She paused and let out a relaxing sigh.
"Listen, Charles, to the sound of the water lapping on the rocks. It's got such a peaceful, soothing rhythm. It's a simple thing, but I am really enjoying it."
"Yes, mother" I replied, and I remembered to stop and be more in the moment myself. "It is lovely."
She paused. "I wish I had spent more of my life listening to water."