Oxtongue Lake, ON - Emily L
When I was young at the lake, I stayed at a warm and cozy cottage, just offshore. Each morning, I remember running down to the shiny speed boat, resting beside the dock, alongside my older cousin, Riley. I would head out to the lake for the majority of the day. I remember water tubing and water-skiing and fishing. I remember casting the line and feeling the tug and reeling the fish in. It all happened so fast. Catching my first big fish was a great achievement of mine. I stared in astonishment at the sight of this massive Northern pike.
When I was young at the lake, I would go paddle boating and canoeing and kayaking. Each evening, I would take the paddle boat under the bridge to collect rocks of all shapes and sizes and colours. I remember finding a favourite rock that was quite large, it glistened, shined and shimmered under the beam of the sun. Looking for rocks was a frequent routine of Riley’s and my summer. I also remember kayaking, just off the surface of the shore, dodging the seaweed and lily pads and moss. I rowed through the water, alternating sides to pull myself forward, through the quiet lake. At times, I would swim by the shore, collecting mussels, buried
beneath the sand, some even caught in seaweed. I would smash them with rocks until the shell was crushed into a thousand little sharp shards. I enjoyed the sound of the shells being cracked. It sounded like glass shattering to tiny grounds, but in a surprisingly amicable way. The aroma of the mussels smelled like the ocean, pleasant and unpleasant, all at once. I could almost taste the
fishiness in my mouth. The mussels were cold and, after crushing them, sharp to the touch. I even sliced the tip of my finger once during the process. Each night, after playing games and watching movies all evening, there would be a glowing bonfire. I would roast spider dogs and marshmallows and kabobs, my favourite being spider dogs, the smokey taste and cool shape put a fun spin on hot dogs. Sticking the skewer through the hot dog and slicing it into eight sections and watching the ends curl up. It looked like a spider or in my mind, an octopus.
When I was young at the lake, I felt happy and at peace. There was no wifi, allowing me to focus on what was happening and get my mind away from social media. My mental and physical health were at its best, spending time with family and joking around was the highlight of my summer, although I did get homesick at times. Going out on the lake was always so thrilling. I especially remember sitting at the edge of the boat, leaning over, running my fingers through the freshwater. I would always focus on the water that trailed behind the boat, it was in the shape of a mermaid tail and for some strange reason, it made me feel calm. The whole experience filled me with excitement and joy.
At the lake, I always played board games and card games and ladder toss. I remember when Riley and I would play pranks on everyone. There was a sound effect maker, which I would use to play animal noises like bears and wolves and foxes. It was believable because they were seen in this area frequently. They would get startled and Riley and I would laugh hysterically. I learned a lot at the lake, like how to bait a hook and balance a kayak and start a bonfire. I will never forget this remarkable summer at the lake.