My Watermark is Kashagawigamog Lake, Ontario.
There is this little sandy beach on gentle Kashagawigamog Lake it is on the north side of tiny point of land, referred to as “The Point”, it has been a sacred spot where young people leaned to swim, and not long ago, a few times a year, groups in the hundreds would come together and dig up a wooden box from the sandy soil and read aloud messages before depositing new ones and re-burying the box. The messages were about the love that the people had for the days and nights on the land, the love they had for the lake and for each other. It was a nice scene.
One of my earliest memories of the lake is of it’s first sandy shallows just off the shoreline and involves a quiet moment and a sense of profound ecstasy, it was when I was probably 7 or 8 years old. Easter weekend the ice sometimes melted and where there was a dock with a 16ft diving tower to shore for the winter, there was always a bit of open water beside the dock edges over the beach, it made for an amazing view of a microcosm, the leaves from the previous autumn, the clam shells, twigs, the ripples of the sand and the otherworldly space of the water itself even at this shallow depth. In the foot of fresh water, three feet from shore, the light would dance across the edge of the lake floor.
This is where when I first became alert to the idea that the lake was alive. It seemed to be saying hello, awaking to the spring and to its impending duties as a pleasure bowl for the summer holiday lovers. Grateful in its service to life itself, I understood deeply then that the lake was much more than a chemical composition, that it was life and love. To then climb the dive tower and survey over the frozen expanse to the other shores, and to get a sense that this magical energy was the scale of the whole lake, was exciting, to quote my dad, "maybe that’s what life really is”, the whole thing was profoundly joyous and seems utterly filled with light and water as a memory.
The lake was a otherworldly treasure of significant proportions. It was also something to take care of and to work with others to ensure its continued health. Those gatherings have moved on to new shores, but the lake abides and continues to share with new people who swim drink and fish it. It always gives me great comfort to know that so many hundreds of my friends and family from that time and place loved and will always love that lake as much as I do.