You may or may not be familiar with Humans of New York, a digital series that provides a glimpse into the lives of everyday people. A quote or anecdote from the subjects interviewed gets the reader thinking, feeling, and relating to their story in some way. Their narratives are sometimes happy and other times they’re sad and challenging — but they’re aways compelling. We wanted to emulate this powerful series by interviewing the kinds of people you’d see in cottage country. Whether it’s the lady bagging your groceries at the 24-hour grocery store or the young girl scooping your ice cream at the local bakery, we want to know their stories.
To start this series, we asked a Lake Muskoka cottager to describe how she feels about being up at the cottage and what spending time up north means specifically to her.
“My favourite thing is getting up to the cottage and finding that time changes. There are no schedules and there is no sense of hurry and I can be mindful of the beauty that I get to experience 24/7 while I’m here.
When the highway hits the first big chunk of Precambrian shield, the air changes and I’m back at summer camp. A very particular feeling of freedom washes over my brain and I prepare myself for a simple journey back to fresh green pines, blue lakes, and damp pathways into the woods.
My cottage has a special kind of language. Its speaks with its windows that frame clouds and birds, the wind mixes with music that pulses from our speakers that are outside on the deck. It’s a playlist my husband updates constantly. Joni, Bob, Bruce Jimi, Frank, Billie, Ella. I get to wear sweatpants and peasant blouses, cut off jeans and moccasins.
I’ve had four beloved dogs at my cottage. Three have passed, one just a week ago. But they live here in spirit and we walk and talk together in our daydreams. It’s magical. Time slows and I find myself quietly pondering what I did in my life and the possibilities of what I can do, maybe write a book, or paint a picture, but it doesn’t matter because up here I can do anything or nothing.”
—Dyan Kirshenbaum, 61, art consultant and cottager in Muskoka, Ontario