Our friend and neighbour in Toronto bought the most incredible property very close to ours on PEI. It’s nearly three acres, and this summer, I helped him plant over forty trees on it, including several emerald cedars, a few little fruit trees, some lilac bushes, a magnificent, tall willow, some blue spruces, and several other soft and hardwood trees.
When I’m not in Ch’town or at our place across the road, I’ve been sleeping in a little tent behind the larger of his two cabins.
Although his main building with a proper kitchen, bathroom and second floor deck overlooking the dunes won’t be ready until sometime this fall or early next spring, there are already a few very cool things happening here: In addition to the cabin where he is currently sleeping and which will eventually become my music cabin (further away from my original cabin across the road, so I don’t won’t bother the neighbours when I’m drumming, LOL!), our friend has also got a little 8 x 8 bunkie with a skylight built in, for stargazing.
And then, there are the guests. Tonight, we have three groups of campers who have found their way to this little heaven on earth: Two French girls (both of them teachers, and one of whom immediately set up her mosquito-net-enclosed hammock and decided to sleep there for the night), an adventurous family from New Brunswick with a very cute four-year-old and a baby, and a couple from Halifax who, shortly after setting up their tent, took off to enjoy the sunset up a nearby at lighthouse Beach!)
Earlier, I had welcomed them with fresh strawberries and a giant mason jar of ice cold lemon water.
I tremendously enjoy engaging in this sort of hospitality, especially for people who are not paying much (or, in the case of couch surfing, anything at all), and I wish I had the means to be able to do this sort of thing full-time. It reminds me of the summer before my mother died, after I came back from working at a hotel in southern Bavaria — I had learned the art of hospitality, which I applied, as a 20-year-old, to my mother’s many visitors in the garden behind our house where she lay on a lawn chair that August, discovering new parts of her soul while waiting for the inevitable autumn and winter of her now cancer-sentenced life.
Perhaps at the time just a tactic to distract myself and keep busy, I look back on those acts of service now with a new appreciation. The ice coffees I whipped up and served for my mother and her sick-guests while wearing the traditional dirndl I had bought while in Bavaria brought a little sunshine and pride into our somewhat “heavy” garden that summer, and that light and sense of competence spilled over into my soul. Similarly, the flitting around this summer looking after details that delight and surprise those who visit this place fills my heart with joy.
I feel very lucky that I get to participate in these acts of service this summer, at least, in this tremendously tranquil space.
These magical sightings only add to the wonder of this special place.
I wish I could stay here forever!