Saturday, September 3, 2011

Journey to Fort William


Journey to Fort William


I am here on the porch of The Factor's House, built in 1846 by The Hudson's Bay Company as a trading post. We are some one hundred miles north of Ottawa (known in those days as Bytown), on an accessible point of the splendid Ottawa River. Here the river appears to be about a mile wide. Only the gentle downstream march of the wavelets crinkling its surface tells one that we are not on the shore of an expansive freshwater lake. It is easy to imagine a flotilla of canoes, laden with furs appearing from behind one of the islands. Their birch bark hulls would scrape onto the sandy beach less than a stone's throw from where I sit. Teepees would be pitched on the grounds behind me. Whiskey, traded for furs would be imbibed. Perhaps the drumming and dancing and bonfires would continue long into the night.


The Sharonator, Marina and Charlie are now down on the Rock beside the beach where the canoes (I imagine) landed. They are drinking coffee (except for Charlie who is a cat, a surprising cat but not one who as far as I know has a cuppa morning java) and yakking and giggling as women will after a hard night of fur trading and firelight whiskey. The Sharonator, along with Pat her husband, are our very dear friends who have been enticing us to make the three and one half hour journey up here for quite some time. Time well spent it turns out as I enjoy a modest hangover, the plashing wavelets and the hummingbirds which dart and hover around the feeders hanging behind the screens to my immediate left. Beyond them, amidst the pine, spruce and birch trees spaced out along the river blue jays raucously go about their morning business. Now Marina is doing Qi Gong by the river and the blue jays go quiet as she is joined by Sharon and Charlie too.

3 comments:

deepamwadds said...

Lovely images of then and now. Such a peaceful (if hungover) scene. Wouldn't the structures more likely have been wigwams, though? Sorry, I have a touch of the Virgo...
We are so fortunate to have space like this still available on this planet. I had a friend once visit from Rhodes who, when he saw all the For Sale signs along the road, exclaimed, "You can buy this land?"
How wonderful that we don't have to buy it just to enjoy it.

deepamwadds said...

ps: I love the way you described Bluejays going quiet for Qi Gong

J.R. MacLean said...

Wigwams? Bet you are right. See my short story 'The Serpent's Stones' to appreciate how little I truly know a about aboriginal culture. Thanks for dropping by Deepam. I didn't know you were a fellow scribbler.

cheers
J.R.