Thank you to everyone who submitted a story to the nonfiction portion of the Winter in the Bay writing contest. Here are two stories that remind us of the joy of sharing a favourite activity with someone dear to us, by Jessi Fillmore and Alexa Fletcher.
It’s not too late for you to tell your story! Submit your fictional short story (maximum length 2,500 words) by March 15 at 11:59 p.m. to firstname.lastname@example.org to participate in the fiction contest. Or submit your nonfiction essay of 350 words or less or your fictional short story of 2,500 words or less anytime for sharing. We will post it here once all contest entries have been published. Let’s keep telling our stories of the Bay!
Baked Potatoes Wrapped in Tin Foil
As I walk through the woods behind my uncle’s house in Seabright, butterflies flutter in my stomach. My mother and I are headed to the lake in hopes of getting in a skate before tomorrow’s big rain storm.
Skating on lakes has always made me nervous. A fear likely developed from a story my father once told about his Volkswagen Beetle sinking beneath the ice when he was young. I shudder at the idea of his car disappearing into the tannin stained water.
To distract myself from these thoughts, I focus my attention on my surroundings. The clouds have now parted allowing the snow coved spruce branches to sparkle in the afternoon sun. The snow crunches beneath our boots as we walk and I look up to see an Eagle soaring effortlessly overhead.
When we arrive at the lake there is quiet, muffled only slightly by a soft breeze. It is just us and the lake and we are happy to find that the ice is in good condition. I find comfort in knowing that this lake is shallow.
As I lace up my skates, I wonder if muscle memory has retained my balance. It has been more than a year since I have been on the ice. Grabbing a tree that juts out over the lake I hoist myself upright, then push off with my left foot. A smile breaks across my face as I realize that my muscles do remember.
Together my mother and I skate up and down the ice hugging the shoreline. Sometimes we skate fast, sometimes we skate slow. Our blades cutting across the bumpy surface creates a brilliant music that echoes across the lake. I am overcome with a feeling of bliss.
When our legs begin to tire, we head in. As I unlace my skates fond memories of skating here in childhood come to mind. In particular, how much I’d look forward to putting my frozen toes into my winter boots which we’d keep warm with baked potatoes wrapped in tinfoil while we skated.
To read Sue George’s inspiration for “Winter Cove,” visit the Winter in the Bay online gallery and click on the image of the painting.
Peace of the Dark Waters
The past summer is when I found my favourite type of music. It is not the popular kind, nor exactly the upbeat kind, but it is perfect to me. Only one other person I know adores this music.
Therefore, to best appreciate it, we go for drives at night down the St. Margaret’s Bay Road, merely for the purpose of being able to sing our hearts out away from the judgement of others. We take the roads that curve and dip past the sandy beaches. The beauty of the bay at night with feather-down snow on the sand, and the orange glow of houses warm inside all combine with the heart and soul of the music to make time fly. We don’t drive fast, but the frosted trees still go by quickly, because the world is timeless when I’m with my favourite person for a drive through the moonlit bay.
This art piece by Paula Fredericks reminds me of the view we have while we are singing late at night, with the music so loud that we can’t even hear our own voices. It is always a bit cloudy, but it is just as beautiful. The distance from the city and the dark shades of the sky have yet to disappoint me, because for the times we have gone, it has painted the clouds purple and had stars like glitter for us to admire. Our home seems so simple, all salt water and beach stones. But with the combination of the right person, the blaring of music to overwhelm your body and speak to your soul, and the flashing of the indigo bay view going by— these salty, beach-side back roads can become the most perfect place on the planet to be yourself.
For anyone who hears the ringing of guitar and the clashing of drums for a brief second outside their homes on the ocean, just know that we mean no disruption. We are just kids being our happiest selves in the peace of the dark waters, and we wish the same love for this life for you too.
Alexa Fletcher chose Paula Fredericks’ “Foam & Ice on Bayswater Beach” to illustrate her story. To read Paula Fredericks’ inspiration for her work, visit the Winter in the Bay online gallery and click on the image of the painting.