Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to have an unusual Shabbat experience. Well maybe not anymore since I do it at least once every summer, but to the average observant, the chance to spend Shabbat @ the cottage is quite different when compared to your normal Shabbat.
Two families from our synagogue own a place just a little north of Orillia (for you non-Canadians, that’s 2-3 hours north of Toronto – aka cottage country), and every summer they invite various families for Shabbat. What ensues is a better than fantastic weekend where the physicalities of the cottage experience combined with the spirituality of Shabbat. No we weren’t swimming in the lake on Shabbat (we actually learned about some of the rules behind why not), rather we sat on the dock (which was within the man made eiruv – allowing us to carry items on Shabbat), simply lounging away and enjoying the beautiful weather and uniqueness of this experience. The only other experience that comes close was a random Shabbat I spent on the Kineret (Sea of Galilee) in Israel, where I crashed a March of the Living Shabbat.
We usually have enough for a minyan, so davening is not a problem except for laining. That was my problem 😉
Now it would only make sense to leave a little earlier on Friday so to beat traffic, but that wouldn’t be the case since yours truly had a story to finish for the newspaper. Luckily, we managed to arrive on the cottage ground with half an hour to spare before Shabbat. Half an hour before Shabbat may seem like enough time to get ready, but trust me, no matter where you are it’s never enough to get ready. Then again, we were still very fortunate considering where we were on the highway in relation to the cottage not that long ago.
Now that I’ve become a seasoned veteran of the cottage experience, I like bringing up a friend so I can share it with them. I’m very adamant on this request because I know I won’t be having if I’m
on my own and I find it more pleasurable if someone is befitting from my attempts of kindness. It also brings me pleasure when I see my friend whipped, beaten and scarred while tubing as I watch from the boat, meanwhile taking photos of the massacre. I like tubing, sorry liked tubing, but ever since I started doing it, years back @ the cottage, my body can’t take it anymore and the day is ruined because I’m so stiff. So every time my friend would complain, I’d just remind him that he asked for it and I told him he saw it coming. However, I did miss him finally fall off the tube because I distracted by the sight of the capsized canoe that had been carrying my father and his friend – a moment foreshadowed by all of on the boat.
Another cottage staple is the sauna – an activity where males sit together in a steaming hot room and followed up by a run into the lake to cool off. I specifically made that explanation sound vague and weird because it hides just how awesome the sauna really is.
(As you can tell I’m rushing this post and it’s not written all that well so my apologies…)
Canoeing, swimming, water skiing, and even sailing were other fun unique-to-the-cottage activities I got to engage in that weekend.
Overall, the best weekend of the summer – something I always look forward.