Twice a day I walked to the end of the gravel road and back to the camp. Irish Line dead-ended at a private cottage so any traffic from the highway was very local. Waving to passers by was obligatory. The road ran east and west so I walked briskly into the sun in the morning and sauntered back with the light at my back as I looked in the trees and bushes for whatever I could see. The pattern was reversed in the evening.
On the last afternoon, a car drew beside me and stopped. A white-haired man, cigarette in the corner of his mouth and strong American accent asked,
"Didn't I see you up by the soap factory a while ago?"
We chatted for a couple of minutes and he told me he was from Cincinnati, Ohio. He had been coming to The Island each summer for the past 62 years, first as a child, and then as the owner of the family cottage. His daughter and her family would be visiting next week. A retired airline pilot, he was forward and opinionated in an friendly and direct way. I told him of our recent trip to New York City.
"Well I call New York City the armpit of the world," he offered without hesitation.
"And I never tell anyone at home about The Island," he continued.
Somehow I didn't believe that statement.
"Come up and see my garden sometime," he said as he drove off. "I'm number 102 up Cemetery Lane".
Well that was the end of that. Soon it would be time to pack to go home.
About ten minutes later he sped towards me in a golf cart.
"Do you want to see some deer? Get in! I already cleared it with your husband. I figured you were staying in cabin number one."
We drove up the gravel lane and at the top of the hill, three deer stood nervously at the edge of the bush. They went back to grazing as we passed them slowly. It was only a short distance to his cottage so I agreed to see his garden. Hostas and lilies lined the large lot and a well tended perennial garden was between the house and garage. I asked about some of the plantings.
"I don't know the names of all the flowers...this is my wife's garden...she has been gone five years...this is my sixth summer here without her..."
Grief looked out from under the bushy brows and his voice softened with the memory. I noticed a small memorial stone in the garden.
A short turn around the lake front completed the tour of his little park and he drove me back to our cabin with an invitation to drop in any time.
At dusk my husband and I walked back to his cottage to view the sunset from his ideally located dock. The call of the loon echoed across the water.
Peace and comfort can be found here in this lonely place.