Mama Bee

Mama Bee
Love. Family. Community. Magic.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

I know Arden, I know you.

Not Actually the Bathroom
first Arden morning

dirty Arden face

Sisters walking home after a little  Arden tea party

happy Arden day
The family just returned from a week in Arden and while a week feels long enough to sleep in sandy beds, deal with temperamental and primitive plumbing and battle the vicious horseflies, my heart is aching a little. Because every week in Arden could be the last and because Arden is my heart. I have been going there every summer since I was 2. My dad's ashes are scattered on the Canadian Shield shore line, my parents got married there and I exist because Arden exists. My grandmother swam races in that long deep lake and met my grandfather on the very beach my kids scurried across last week. Arden was once a fancy pants resort built in the 1930's and there was a tennis court and there was a dining room and there was my grandmother, a poor abandoned girl from Toronto who was working as a mother's helper. Someone lost an anchor in the lake and my movie star beautiful grandma dove to the bottom of the lake to tie the rope to pull the precious piece of metal back up. Because we were smart then and didn't live in a world where things were disposable. My grandpa heard about this pretty pretty girl and came across the highway to meet her and they loved each other, conditionally, for 58 years. Now there are just a smattering of white falling down clapboard cottages circling a bay and connected by little dirt roads.
I have walked barefoot on those dirt roads for 35 years and my feet know those roads. They know where the smooth stones are and where the ground is hollow when you stomp.
And I want with all my heart for my kids to learn these things. To have adventures and catch frogs and jump off the bridge and wonder if there might be a secret cave under their own little feet. But the resort was divided up in the '70s and is slowly being sold off and is becoming private, like everywhere beautiful. There are only a handful of rental cottages left; and they are for sale. Someone will buy them and they will become more private space and we will lose Arden forever and my heart will break a little bit. It will break again for my grandma, who lives in that water. It will break again for my dad who lives in the buildings he once maintained and it will break for my kids who will lose so much.
The little girls on "the log"
Oh Arden, I know you...


  1. Also I know where the big rock in the road rises up to hit the bottom of your car if you don't steer in the right direction as to go down the hill. I will always remember the first time I brought my husband to my childhood summer place up near cottage 8 and 9. The look of calm that came over his face as he got out of the car and stood looking at the lake. I was so happy to share that with him and my family. I also remember my childhood cottage friend :) who I looked forward to seeing every year almost as much as I looked forward to swimming and canoeing in the lake.

  2. What a beautiful tribute to a very special place! You have quite a way with words. Just lovely!!