Tuesday, a lazy Tuesday afternoon, cloudy, windy and downright chilly, I took the dogs and a big cigar and set out for a leisurely cruise on the Minnitaki Queen to nowhere in particular.
A half hour into enjoying the scenery and the solitude among the soft clouds of cigar smoke, the silence came alive with the ringing of my cell phone.
"Hey, did you just shut down your boat?" came a familiar voice as I cut the motor to hear better. I was a mile from the nearest house on shore. No boats were in sight.
As I scanned, puzzled, all around me, I answered my friend John Milling, "Yeah. I just cut the engine to hear you better. Where the hell are you?"
It turns out John and his wife Allison had walked with their sister-in-law to the top of Sioux Mountain for an afternoon view of the lake and the town from the highest peak around.
Later, by design, the trio made their way down to where the mountain meets the water and I boated to the same spot, and from there we rode the Queen under the railroad bridge and further down Pelican Lake, until we arrived at Dick's Hideaway and chatted up a storm for the next hour or two, sitting on the Palace deck in a warm sun that emerged just for us, we liked to think.
Later, after supper, I met my friends Merle and Edith Burkholder, avid bird watchers (I guess the accepted term is "birders") who had offered to introduce me to some birds. Our three-hour meander down old bush roads and an abandoned train line was an extraordinary experience. In that time we recorded 30 different species - none of them rare or unusual, but half of which I have never identified.
Edith has an amazing knowledge of birds and their sounds that kept me totally enthralled and, although I'm confused by all the new information she gave, I'm sure some order will eventually emerge from the chaos that my mind is working to absorb.
Merle? He's too modest. "She's the birder," he says quietly, nodding gently toward his wife. "I just tag along and take some pictures." (To see some of the pictures he took last night go to the Facebook page "Sioux Lookout bird watchers" https://www.facebook.com/groups/1562941740691971/ ).
I had been looking forward to an early night to begin reading a new novel, released yesterday, by one of my favorite writers, but I was so full of beautiful thoughts and utter contentment, that by bedtime I didn't have room for any more goodness.