Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Harris Bay...

If you recognize the landmark rock in this photo, you are among the very lucky humans who have found ... Harris Bay.

How many kayaks, canoes, bass boats long for this perfect place?

For some of us it is a cove, an amazing landscape, that begins adventures.

It is the backdrop to laughter, friends, lovers, wading sheepdogs. It is Ontario summer. Maps, backpacks and beer. It arcs over decades.

When I remember a writer's line about "that high late summer sunshine, the lap of cool water on a hot rock and a perfect curve of time" ... this is the rock that always materializes in my imagination.

The rock rules over a lake at which there is always a wildly beautiful, rocky campsite ... waiting.

Nothing I have seen or photographed in the last five days prepared me for my visit to Harris Bay today.

I went there to photograph the landmark rock for a friend I hoped to take there. He likes rocks. It is ... or was ... a perfect place.

It was eaten by a tornado five days ago.

Can nature devour your past in a snap second?

A tree fell in this forest.



Erin said...

“It is ... or was ... a perfect

It was eaten by a tornado five days ago.

Can nature devour your past in a snap second?

A tree fell in this forest.


Thank you… in 5 lines you just managed to say what my heart has been trying
desperately to express for the last week.

At least some of us will always remember that under all that, somewhere, once was this,
and this.
-one of the many Clarke kids that grew up roaming
the forests of Kamaniskeg

Dave said...

Erin, I agree. The forest and the creek will be missed dearly by many people....However, one day soon children will enjoy that magical spot just like we did when we were kids.


jim said...

I too have been reading Dunf's blogs on the devastation in this part of the valley. I have a cottage on Kamaniskeg, and spent my teenage years going to school in Barry's Bay. My early years were spent on the beach on Harris Bay, or, as we called it, Sand Bay.

The mainstream media covered the story like it has to. It hit with the same fury of the tornado, and then left just as fast. For those of us who were really affected, even from afar, the information flow stopped very quickly thereafter.

As a journalist, I have covered many natural disasters throughout Canada. However, seeing the devastation on Kamaniskeg, where I learned how to swim, boat and god knows what else, gutted me. To see what that wind did to the gorgeous white pines is sickening. I will never be able to cross the Combermere bridge again without thinking of that black funnel cloud dropping down onto my friends lodge.

I have fished the creek that Erin posted pictures of. I know many of her relatives.

I have picked blueberries and caught rock bass on the point that Dunf showed us.

I grieve for the those who have suffered much loss and hardship.

I will think of this when I make the trek to the lake this Thanksgiving and see the open wounds on the hills where there should be patches of green in a sea of red, brown and yellow.

Thanks to Dunf. His blog has brought me the only real info on this story in the past week.

Annie said...

A gracious good evening, Dunfie. It's been over a year, and have missed your column, but followed your blog when I could. Miss you like crazy, like everone else...

These pics are heartbreaking. I've cottaged since I was a kid, and have paddled the Madawaska, Opeongo, Petawawa, Ottawa and Palmer Rapids (OK - swam some too) and have eaten ice cream at the Combermere store. Lots of ice cream. I feel for everyone in the area - it's tragic.

I kinda know the feeling - five years after the family cottage was sold, I was ready last summer to take my kayak over to the lake for the first time, finally ready to paddle without bawling my eyes out. There had been a storm, and several large white pines that figure large on the landscape of my best memories were lying in the lake. Cried then, crying now.

I guess this is real life - no wonderfully subversive or childish sh*t like the North York BananaMan, or the Christmas Gloves (and thanks for mentioning those in your last column, you know it was a fave), just life marching on.

I loved your Canada Day column every year, thought about it while lying on my own rock. Thanks for the picture of the one I had been reading about.

I once read that the purpose of life is to plant tress, even though you may not enjoy their shade. Time to plant a tree.

Best regards from Old Wierd Annie.

dunf said...

A cold beer for all of you.

Harris Bay is the southernmost access point to Bark Lake, the largely undeveloped hydro "control" lake above Kamaniskeg on the Madawaska River drainage out of Algonquin Park.

The photos were taken near the half dozen cottages and boat launch.

Kristin said...

My dad and my sister are still in the area, and without telco until Thursday at Dad's, it was hard to find out realities except for here.. Thanks Dunf :-) Seeing the South K road was a walk back in time... last time something interesting happened there for me was when the Aerostar made a leap into the lake :-)

KasiaCubed said...

Thank you for your eloquent words. I just wanted to add a link to more photos from Waxwing lane.....


Annie said...

We love you, we miss you, we... need to get a life. Hope all is well..


el.tucker said...

Two years later- For some of us who cherished Kamaniskeg from way back just after the big war it was heartbreaking to hear and now to stumble on these pictures. Thought I recognized the rock but it was never called Harris Rock in my day- but then the islands were just Green and Gull too. A very long time ago and it's still my favorite place in all the world.