An unexpected wind whipped up around the west side of Bow Lake turning the once clear smooth glass into churning waves that nearly capsized my canoe. I lost sight of the shoreline as fog and rain curtained my view. As panic threatened to rip through me, I reminded myself that the lake isn’t that big. No matter which way I paddled, I would reach the shore. I wasn’t on the ocean or Lake Superior. Just focus and paddle. Focus and paddle. Focus and paddle.
The familiar thunk of the canoe hitting a rock meant I reached the shoreline. I surely hoped at that moment that I would be able to find a path back to the chalet. My romantic brain was so focused on the beautiful fall colours of the trees and smooth lake that I set out without a coat, scarf, hat, or proper footwear. Who goes canoeing in flip-flops in October? Albertans. That’s who. Plus 20 one minute and sweeping rain and plus 3, five minutes later.
I sighed as I steadied my soaking-wet self as I tried to step over the side of the canoe, only to find no ground beneath me but another 6ft of the lake!
Ass-over-teakettle as my grandma used to say! Splash! Panic really did set in as I struggled to grip the side of the canoe in the dark. The water was so cold! Breath! Breath!
“Hey! Do you need some help?”
A heavenly voice that reminded me of champagne and kittens echoed in the dark. A saviour!
I tried to sound tough and sure of myself when I called back out in the dark, “Uh, kinda. Yes. Actually. Can you keep talking so I can find the shore?”
“Sure!” She called out. She began to sing. At first, I couldn’t make out the song, but as I splashed in her direction, I began to hum the tune from The Lonely Island, I’m on a Boat, between my frozen lips, “I'm on a boat and, it's going fast and I got a nautical themed Pashmina Afghan…”
My feet touched the ground! I scrambled over slick rocks and finally made it to the grassy, marshy, muddy shore.
“You made it!” She declared. The woman in question was bundled up in a sensible rain slicker, hat and boots and all. I’ve never been so envious and embarrassed in my life.
“I did! Yes, thank you for your help.” I gruffly replied.
“Here,” She said, “Take my scarf. It’s an Alpaca scarf I bought from Meraki Movement. It’s warm and posh! Much better than Pashmina. Whatever that is.”
I gratefully accepted the posh scarf from her and wrapped it around my cold, wet neck. I have never felt anything so soft in my life.
“It’s called, Jolly-Rancher.”
“The colour is called Jolly-Rancher.”
“Oh. Well, it’s nice. Thank you. Do you know where the chalet is?” I don’t care what colour it is. It’s warm.
“Oh, sure! Follow me!” And she continued humming her boat song as she led the way through the dark and pouring rain, her in her rain slicker and me in her Jolly-Rancher Alpaca Scarf.