Days of Summer Hoot & Blat

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White Squall’s HOOT & BLAT!

Time for a Summertime Dream

For those who get my Lightfoot reference, you win the prize. Which is simply taking a moment to think about summer breezes, crystal clear waters and scented winds. On that note, with his permission I’ve re-printed at the end of this Hoot author and playwright David Young’s take on those magical days when summer seems endless and simply perfect. Called “Boys of Summer”, I hope you can press pause on your day to take in brilliant writing and cast a thought back to your childhood summer. If you enjoy it, let me know – as David has other work I may be able to share with you.

Kid’s Paddle & Play, July 24 Aug. 7,14 6-7:30pm

Ok, I’m pulling my hair out. These evening sessions for kids 8 -12 using Stand Up Boards and Kayaks are purposely made easy for parents ($15/session) Our staff cheerfully stay after hours to have a game and fun-filled evening of paddling with kids. Trouble is – the numbers signing up is like an old country and western singer I once knew “Slim Pickins” So here’s the thing, if you have a young’un who might enjoy being out on the water and learning a thing or two – please get in touch! 705-342-5324 and better yet, you can sign up on-line!

Yoga on SUP Boards Every Thursday Eve

Yup, it’s fun and may already be full – but you’ll never know til you try. Please don’t phone us, contact Sue Pilling directly at: [email protected] May your only down be a dog.

Learn to Paddle Every Saturday – or when you want!

We love getting people out on the water so check out our full roster of lessons at:

Get Better Quick! Level 1 Kayak Skills August 11/12

Our Paddle Canada course takes you to the next level of paddling skill and knowledge in a fun, challenging two days. You’ll walk away with a smile on your face, cause the learning is fast and fun. Give us a call (705-342-5324) and we’ll fill you in. There are only a few spots left so don’t dilly dally.

Boys of Summer

(published in the Toronto Globe and Mail July 29, 2000-copyright-David Young)

I’ve escaped with my son to an isolated island on Georgian Bay every summer since he was born. I have a picture of him propped in a sea kayak, a little bald lump, age three weeks. A projection screen for all my hopes and dreams. At about age four, Benn started bringing friends along with him. How many times have I explained to parents that life on the Bay is safe and deeply simple? I’m going to take your son off his leash and let him run wild and free with as little adult supervision as possible.

I’ll call if he needs stitches. Thank God for trusting parents. Over the years I’ve watched little boys squeal at rattlesnakes, fall out of bunk beds, learn to swim on the wild side of the island, marvel at an ancient pine rooted in a rock crack, play endless games of Monopoly, fling themselves off high rocks into cold water, fight and cry and miss their mums and – most memorably – snuggle against each other in front of the fire like wet pups growing into their paws. And every morning they would be bigger.

In June, Benn and three of his school chums (Michael, Andrew and Andrew) came up to the Bay for three weeks. All of them had just turned 14 and graduated from Grade 8. Still boys, but barely so. This summer, something was ineffably different: new unseen forces moved inside them, shaping them in their sleep. Think back to 14, the breathtaking panorama that for the first time came into crisp focus. The larger world beyond your parents. It is one of the great and glorious moments of this life.

How were they different? They were still boys at heart, clinging to the old rituals and codes of behaviour. They carved and customized sticks for mock combat. They got up on water skis and practised casual poses. They lolled around with the dog. Kraft dinner was, as usual, the only lunch. They still played Monopoly, perhaps with a more ruthless edge. Big bonfires and night swims beneath the canopy of stars still thrilled them. Funny party games after dinner still made them laugh. Their eyes still shone at ghost stories around the fire. The same rituals, the same rock, the same sun grazing the rim of the same outer reef on the summer solstice. Turn, turn, turn. Maybe the difference was inside me. I was 14 on the rocks once. The overlay of summer upon summer provides a depth of field, a hand-rubbed lacquer finish that makes the grain of life jump clear. For a moment, one feels wise. I saw myself in them, all my hopes and drearms come ragged and bewildered down the rapids of this life. How I’d tried to patch things together and make sense of the world. All the dangers. All the mistakes. So many ways for things to go wrong.

I knew the forbidden secrets they were whispering in the tent. The witchery of adolescence. I wanted to sweep them up in my arms, stop them in their heading rush into our complex disorder, make them aware of the radiance of this incredible moment we were in. Boyhood’s end.

I wanted to say: It will never be this simple again. The next growth spurt will carry you over into the full bloom of adolescence. This time next year, the world will be different in your eyes. A new shore to explore – part-time jobs, summer school, the unfolding origami of sex. Please, take care.

I think the boys knew and understood how I felt. They were kind to me when I looked in their eyes at sunset and waxed sentimental. They were open and tender with each other, wanting to believe that it wasn’t quite over yet, that the world was still easy and uncomplicated, as if there were a choice about going forward into the darker jungle of adulthood. Such a glorious pause. Georgian Bay on the longest day of the year. A moment to remember all the wonderful empty time spent on these rocks, the great good fortune of it all.

No maps for the next leg of this journey. I only hope they remember how much we loved them.

Bye for now tim

PS if the hoot is too hot to handle, please send a reply with put out the fire.  On the other side of things, if you know someone who would like to hear from Cole headquarters, send us their email with a reply that says light my dyer. (just kidding ~ full fire ban in effect)