by: Rebecca Taylor
In response to Trixie’s prompt
Warm summer nights and cool lake breezes when the sun is setting and the cottagers venture down to watch is one of my favourite times of the day. Who am I and why am I telling you my story? My name’s Dock and I am the guard between the water and the shore at Crestview Cottage. I’ve seen a lot of changes on the lake in my thirty years here. I was first built by the original cottage owner – Brant Weatherby. He was a carpenter and his hands were skilled. He carefully cut and sanded my pieces and nailed me together to become who I am today. He applied wood stain to protect me from the elements especially the snow and ice of wintertime.
I love my job because I get the chance to meet so many people and see so many things especially in the summer and autumn seasons. I am never alone because I have made friends with the water and the wind and the ducklings that have made their home beneath my strong plank frame. The water is calm around me and I sit here day after day and watch the comings and goings on the tranquil lake. Boats wander past me on outings and I watch them and their crews enjoy the sweetness of summer. Some of the boats give me clues to the personalities of the people using them. My favourite boat keeps coming back for two weeks each July. Its sail pattern was created by an artist I’m sure, because its colourful design is both alluring and mystical.
The lake air smells like flowers that grow along the shoreline and sometimes I also catch a whiff of meat and vegetables barbecuing, or of a campfire and the scent of charred marshmallows. These changes make my days interesting because even though I stay in one spot I get the chance to experience cottage life. I hear many expressions about that as my visitors enjoy their morning coffee, a picnic or sometimes a glass of wine. My favourite saying is “cottage life – living it and loving it.” It sums up how I feel in seven quick words.
My home is beautiful and I adore the sounds I hear – birds singing in the early mornings, a cheerful wakeup song, the water around my footings swishing, children playing and swimming and laughter. It is wonderful to see the beauty of creatures and humans enjoying themselves. The waters are shallow around me and water shone rocks run along the shore. The water temperatures take a lot of adapting to. In the wintertime, thin ice settles over it, making the temperatures frigid but I’ve learned to adapt to the changes and usually hibernate until the ice begins to melt in the spring and the feeling returns to my legs. The summer temperatures are delightful and also bring me the most company. Cooler temperatures begin to return in the autumn and the water is used less but cottage comers bring their lawn chairs and their sweaters and sit on me to photograph the stunning views of the vibrant leaves.
One of my favourite memories and I’m fortunate that it has happened to me a few times during my existence is watching children learn to walk on my strong wooden planks. One parent watching in delight as the other one holds their child’s hand and the realization that their baby is growing up. Children learn to swim in my calm waters too as their entourage cheers them on. Some of the children have long since grown up and have started to bring their families back to my waters. Watching the circle of life and knowing that I bring pleasure to people is rewarding.
This lake is my home and the annual visitors to Crestview have become my family. I’m also happy to say that there are other cottages close by and their docks keep me company throughout the year especially on the days when the weather doesn’t encourage visitors to the waterfront. I can see the cottage from my spot and there is something special about seeing the lights come on in the mornings to greet me and when they are shut off at the end of the day saying good night.
Sometimes I think about what my life would have been like if I hadn’t been built into me, if my boards had been turned into something else like a lonely storage shed or even worse an outhouse. I am lucky to live the life I do, my pieces fit together and I am content. I get to experience nature every day, all day. I never feel like walls are closing in on me and vacationers are jolly people who just want to have a good time.
So this is my story and who I am. I hope that you have enjoying learning about my existence. Maybe you’ve sat on docks before or seen them waving to you from the water. The next time you visit one, I hope you’ll think of me and know how much your dock is enjoying your visit. I’ve never met a grumpy dock; I hope they don’t exist because we don’t have anything to complain about. We live a life of constant bliss.