Real, Imagined and Otherwise

For me there is very little as exhilirating as turning a wooded corner to find a body of water; a perfect eye reflecting the blue sky after a long walk.  There is just something about lakes.  They are to me not only the epitome of beauty and tranquility but also keepers of secrets and deep mysteries.  Gaze into their clear depths on a hot Summer day and you will see layers of story and history.

When we were children, my sister and I used to spend every Summer weekend at a lake.  It was a large body of gray green water just outside the city, skirted by bulrushes and weeping willows.  It was no where near as pristine or as picture perfect as the Canadian lakes I now fall into nor as remote or hard to get to.  Yet it was our lake.  Our idyllic getaway in what my sister and I liked to think of as ‘the country’.

We grew up swimming and windsurfing and one of our favourite activities was diving for treasure.   The bottom of that lake was strewn with rocks and submersed weeds so we had to ‘hide’ the treasure we hoped to find.  We used to throw marbles in and pretend they were nuggets of gold! As the years went by and my taste in reading material changed from fairy tales to real life mysteries, our expeditions became forensic dives; a fruitless quest for underwater clues.

This is probably why I find it impossible to sit by a lake without wondering if there is a car at the bottom of it or the skeletal remains of fur trapper or a woman spurned by her lover…macabre, I know.

What truly surprises me is how, despite having grown up in a haunted house, we did not believe in lake monsters.  We never hesitated, like our youngest son does, on the water’s edge.  (He is convinced he had an encounter with a snake-like monster in a lake not far from Radium Hot Springs).  Some people look at bodies of water and see danger.  Real, imagined and otherwise.

Photo:  Y McAdam

Photo: Y McAdam

I watched a program recently on Bigfoot ‘hunters’ and what stayed with me was not their unwavering belief in an elusive, ape-like creature but how in this day and age of spy satellites and infrared cameras there are still pockets of unexplored wilderness.

I like living with a few mysteries, don’t you?

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Mrs Peacock In The Library With The Candlestick

I enjoy murder mysteries.  Especially cases populated with complex characters and intriguing clues.  I realized only recently that I have loved sifting through clues and motives since I was a child.

You see,  before I looked like a girl I played with boys.  I would have liked to play with girls (other than my sister) but from the age of five or so I found most girls were mean to me.   I don’t blame them.  I didn’t have the greatest role models in the my life and tea parties with plastic cups didn’t interest me.  I was a very active child despite my fondness for reading.  I loved climbing things, rollerblading and cycling.  So I gravitated towards the boys who seemed to be, like me, always outdoors and they took me in, which is a marvel really since  I wasn’t pretty, though one boy – his name was Joaquin – told me I had beautiful blue eyes.  I remember flushing with pleasure when he complimented me so it’s a pity really that my eyes are not blue or green or anything in between.

On bad weather days my  friends and I would spend hours indoor reading comics, playing Risk and Monopoly and dressing up.  Boys are really into their capes and masks.

They’re also really into running around naked but that is a story for another day.  We’d play ‘Not Three but Six Musketeers’ with swords and rolling pins and “Justice League of America” at the expense of several pieces of furniture.  But when I kept losing all those macho-making arm-wrestling and spitting games I tired of all the chest-beating bravado.  I wanted something more.  Something cerebral.  We needed a new game and it came in the form of Cluedo.  A birthday gift.

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I haven’t played it in years but those characters live on like old friends in a house with a conservatory and a billiard room! And to this day whenever I watch a murder mystery on television I  want to shout:

“It was Mrs Peacock in the library with the candlestick!”

What was or is still your favourite board game?