It’s Civic Holiday Weekend which marks mid-summer in Ontario. What better time to focus on the joy of simple living!
Simple living heightens every summer pleasure. As is our summer routine, we spend the precious summer weeks at our cottage. This is the time when our psychic batteries get a re-charge.
Our cottage is nestled in a wooded area steps away from Lake Huron where daytime temperatures are usually 5 degrees Celcius lower than the searing heat and humidity of the city. The pleasant relief from summer heat brings relaxation as soon as we pull into the driveway! On the days when it gets hot and muggy, a dip in the lake cools the body quickly.
Here’s a view of Lake Huron taken from the top of a dune this morning. I take pleasure in the ever-changing colours of the lake. Just a look at the water brings a new perspective.
Our cottage offers a mix of rustic and modern living. Twelve oak trees that are over one hundred years old plus mature birches, maples, and white pines protect us from the sun when we sit on the decks. The trees shade everything but offer spots where dappled sunlight seeps through. The shade is calming both indoors and outdoors. When the nights are too hot and humid, we indulge ourselves and turn on the central AC unit.
There is a change in daily routines when we live at the cottage. If we watch tv, it’s Netflix or an occasional peek at Olympic sports rather than the daily dose of newscasts. At night we read, listen to music, or sit outside to marvel at the brilliant night sky with no light contamination.
Each of us has cottage clothes that stay here year-round. My wardrobe consists of t-shirts, shorts, bathing suits, jeans and sweatshirts for those cool evenings. I haven’t quite made it a capsule wardrobe, but it is an easy wardrobe that’s washable and comfortable. On most days it’s a relief not to worry about applying make-up!
Meals are easy and based on local freshly picked produce. Shopping for food is different with only two small grocery stores. A weekly farmer’s market offers freshly picked corn on the cob, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, peaches, muskmelons and baked goodies. There’s a German butcher shop in a nearby town that provides fresh meat and sausages for barbeques. We indulge in various flavoured ice creams for dessert, another summer pleasure as we don’t often eat many sweets!
Now that Ontario is opening up after the third wave, interacting with small groups of cottage friends who have had both shots of the COVID vaccine is a treat. With the border opening next weekend, we hope to see friends from Michigan return to their cottages. Last week we attended a small garden party; on the weekend we hosted a small dinner; neighbours frequently stop for a visit on the front deck if they see us outside. It’s another simple pleasure to have conversations with people who have been away from us for over a year!
Perhaps the greatest simple living pleasure is doing nothing. It’s a summer slow-down — no complications and minimal distractions. No stress from excess activities crammed into each day. I feel no guilt about spending an afternoon with a book or having a day without a goal or purpose. Nor do I stop myself from staying up late and sleeping late!
Choosing a summer of simple living helps me to get in touch with the things that I value most — time for a conversation with my husband, time to sit still, and time to visit with the people I love. Finding enjoyment in daily happenings adds joy to every day of this beautiful summer season.