At the Mouth of the Grand


For various reasons, we find ourselves in Port Maitland this week, holding a writing retreat on the shore of Lake Erie, beside the mouth of the Grand River. And, let me tell you, when you get to the mouth of the Grand River, you know why they call it 'Grand'.

We had hoped to be in Utah, spending some time with Erin's father' but for various reasons this fell through. We hope to try again on a journey this June. In the meantime, we're appreciating the week of downtime amongst the waves on the shore, and we may make some progress on our writing.

We're not too far from the town of Dunnville, which is a fascinating place. A small town in the middle of a lot of rural land, which we suspect hops during the high season. Just after March Break, however, when there's still a good chance that Lake Erie might try to turn you into a block of ice, the streets are relatively quiet, but not dead. Almost every shop is open. The kids and I ate at a diner on a Wednesday, alongside other patrons -- probably regulars.

There is always something I like about a prosperous small town, even though they tend to depend on a lot of luck, these days, not to mention tourism. They're also the ideal that has tended to build a lot of sprawling suburbs: a small community that doesn't overwhelm, while things like shops and activities are still close around you. Your typical sprawling suburb often spectacularly fails to achieve these goals, but the drive behind them is still there.

Erin and I have a retirement goal we call the Bone Witch project. She wants a tiny cabin in the woods where she can be closer to nature (and be a bone witch). I want something with good transportation, where my neighbourhood can be my living room. So, why don't we have both? A small cabin in the woods that she can spend three out of four weeks at, and a small apartment somewhere with good public transit where I can spend three weeks out of four at? We have time overlapping at both places and time alone in our preferred places. If we can swing it, I think it would be good.

The cabins around Dunnville could fulfill the bone witch side of things, and Dunnville itself could fulfille the urban side of things, if it had any public transportation connections. It doesn't though, so that search continues. Still, I can't say I'm not tempted.

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