One of the greatest things about living on the 45th parallel is watching the changing of the seasons and Camp Ak-O-Mak has to be one of the most beautiful places to witness this spectacle of nature!
Typically by October, Ontario is under the raw chill of fall with blustering winds and sideways rains, the kind that cruelly strip the colour from the trees and the "magic" from the forests. This year, however, we have been basking in the warmth of a true "Indian summer". Warm, sunny days have allowed us to defer the inevitable donning of hats and coats for a while longer. Vibrant blue skies have provided a striking contrast to the explosion of yellows, oranges and crimson which have made the views everywhere at this time of year breathtaking!…the perfect backdrop as Canadians prepare to celebrate THANKSGIVING this long weekend.
Although we (Dianne and Catherine) will be missing Camp Ak-O-Mak this weekend, we are grateful for the memories of "Thanksgivings Past"…Thanksgiving dinners hosted by Buck and Rosemary in the Main House. (Rosemary cooked the turkey in the big oven and we did the dishes!)…Hikes through camp trails, forests aglow with colour, painted by the Master's autumnal brush! Olfactory memories of dried leaves, spruce trees, loamy earth and hardwood fires.
Once again, most of us will be irresistibly drawn to the outdoors to walk, play or work this weekend, wherever we gather to celebrate Thanksgiving. There is something about mindfully experiencing nature, even for a moment, that can prompt gratitude in one's heart. Isn't that precisely how we feel when we instinctively raise our faces heavenward to bask in the sun's warmth and deeply inhale the fresh scent of flora?
Over the years, Thanksgiving has become one of our favourite holidays. It is not so commercialized and there are no presents to distract us from that which we are most grateful…the unwavering support of our families in the daily travails of running camp, truly wonderful friends, good health, a full pantry…in other words "life abundant".
We also remain thankful for Camp Ak-O-Mak and, like the other things in life, have learned not to take her for granted.
It is a place that continues to inspire and challenge throughout the stages of one's life. We are grateful for Ak-O-Mak's friends, new and old, who are drawn back to her like a touchstone and graciously give back with their energies and resources to help keep this grand dame alive!
To quote George Elliot, "We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it".
The same can be said for Camp Ak-O-Mak.
We wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!
Dianne and Catherine