This weekend, I had the very good fortune to be invited to join a camping expedition to Parc Poisson Blanc, located in Quebec about ninety minutes from Ottawa. We bought food, drove up, rented boats, and took them to our superb campsite – a private locale with a beach, a forested area with ground ideal for walking and setting up tents, excellent views, and even a little lagoon featuring a black whirling swarm of baby catfish. The lake water was at an ideal temperature, and the company and food were both excellent.
I had the further good fortune that Saturday was a moonless night. Out in the wilderness, a dazzling array of stars could be seen, so many as to make it hard to identify familiar constellations. The Milky Way was clearly visible. Floating on my back in the water, looking up at the sky in the middle of the night was one of the most magical things I’ve done in recent memory. It felt like such an ancient undertaking, a connection to the whole history of humanity, the Earth, and the universe.
Though short, the trip produced such a change in my mode of thinking that returning to Ottawa felt like coming back to a familiar but semi-forgotten place. It will be odd to be back at work tomorrow, but I will certainly be showing up mentally refreshed.