At lunchtime today, I found myself gravitating to Lily Lake at Rockwood Park. I wasn’t expecting to feel so sad. But having just come from a deserted Staples (“It’s September 1st. Do you have all your school supplies?!”), seeing the still lake and hearing the rustle of leaves in the middle of a September weekday packed a punch.
Lily Lake is a kettle lake, formed by the glaciers of the Ice Age about 10,000 years ago. As the ice sheets retreated, enormous chunks of ice fell off. The weight of these chunks caused a depression in the earth beneath them, and as the ice melted, it filled in the depression with water, creating a lake. Perhaps the most famous example of a kettle lake is Walden Pond, in Massachusetts–
Normally in September and October, I say these words five or six times a day, rumbling down the hill on my doubledecker bus — with 70 of my newest friends — holding my microphone steady, with my arm hooked around a pole.
September and October are prime cruise ship season in my little port city, and on any given day, anywhere between 2000 and 11,000 visitors spend their day with us — and I with them. They sail in early in the morning and leave just as the locals are thinking about supper.
But not this year.
A seagull lands on top of the wrought-iron garbage bin, his razor-sharp bill stabbing at a Tim Hortons cup. Slim pickings for you too, eh?
I haven’t heard a New York City accent in person in nearly a year. I haven’t convinced anyone to try our local edible seaweed, or sung to people, confessing “I can only sing in front of people I know I will likely never see again.”
Every now and again my husband will casually mention a building as we drive by — often in the most general terms — and I’m suddenly telling him the history of the house, the family who originally lived there, how it survived the Great Saint John Fire, and to take note of the details in the woodwork surrounding the door.
I can’t help it.
I miss them. I miss the ships, and the people they bring to me. I miss my beloved Routemaster buses. I miss hearing a continent’s worth of voices in 90 minutes, and answering questions I’ve answered a thousand times or never before.
It has been so long since I have had a September to myself that I’m not quite sure what to do with it.
But we’re only twelve hours in.
I’ll figure it out.