I’ve been preoccupied the past several months - to such an extent that I’ve hardly written a word.
“Frank,” I hear those of you who’ve been paying some attention say, “we know you’ve been darn busy playing with your spiffy new camera and lenses. We understand. Go forth and shoot.”
Godblessya’. But there’s been more occupying my mind than photography: I’m house-hunting. More specifically, I’m hunting for my Dream Retirement Forever Home, or in an abbreviated form, the Next Place. As you might imagine, not just any old house will do. I have specific requirements. Some of them are:
It has to be a 4-season, waterfront home with either a few acres of its own, or abutting Crown land on one or both sides. (Crown land is undeveloped wilderness tracts. Most Canadian cottages are built on lakes which contain large-ish chunks of Crown land. Our family cottage, with which most of you folks are somewhat familiar, abuts Crown land on one side. Its proximity makes it possible to truly live on the doorstep of the Great Outdoors.)
It has to have one or two small guest cabins, or “bunkies.” I’d prefer a couple. One could be used exclusively for visitors and I could use the other to hide from Hilary when something needs doing.
Haha! That was most likely a joke.
But I really wouldn’t mind my own little cabin/cubbyhole in which to write and think. Or at least think about writing. It would be the grown-up version of a tree house or fort. Heck, I might even store a box or two of my old comic books in there.
The Next Place has to be relatively maintenance-free because I’m no handyman. And to the surprise of none of you, the lake has to have some decent fish in it, preferably walleye.
Complicating matters somewhat is the fact that I’m no longer single, or 30 years old. If I was, I could have my pick of places that suited my requirements and get change back from $200,000. But I’d also be about two or three hours from anything resembling civilization.
So, at 60 and with a life partner who also has certain requirements, the search has become somewhat lengthy and complex. Compromises had to be made.
For instance, Hilary is concerned about the proximity of medical facilities. Apparently, she is not convinced that my Stupid Heart Attack was totally a once-in-a-lifetime fluke. She would like a hospital to be next door but will accept one within a half-hour drive. Whereas I’m content to be within a 2-hour helicopter ride of someone who’s taken St. John Ambulance training.
So, we’ve compromised. The Next Place has to be within a 30-minute drive of Highly Trained Medical Professionals, preferably in a hospital setting.
Yeah, I won that round.
We agree that it would be nice to be within a few minutes' drive of necessities, like a newspaper and gas. I’d like to be within a couple of hours of Bowmanville where I live now and that would put us three hours from Mississauga, where most of Hilary’s people are. It would also be nice to be within an hour or so of the family cottage. We would both like to be within a half-hour of most amenities, like grocery and department stores.
So, I’ve narrowed the search to roughly three geographic areas. Somewhere within them, lies the place where I want to set my bones down for as long as I have left. It will have water and trees and loons and herons and raccoons and deer and even a bear or two. There will be paths to walk and new ones to forge. There will be misty summer mornings and cold November rains, roasting marshmallows and chopping wood. There will be fresh air aplenty and long, lingering doses of what my soul drinks and town and city life simply can’t offer -- silence.
My Walden awaits. I’ll keep you posted.