A letter to my girls


Life is experienced as a series of moments, each one ideally cherished in its own right, the sum of which provides the mosaic that is our personal stamp on this world. All too often these moments are gone in a flash as we race through life without taking the time to relish and revel in each one. But sometimes, if we are present and aware enough, if we are lucky enough, we get to live through these moments in slow motion.

This has been the case with my last 36 hours here on the shores of Mountain Basin, holed up in our little lakeside cabin with nary a sound to be heard save for the comforting roar of the sauna stove and the faint hiss of the falling snow melting on the stove pipe outside.

This time in silence, surrounded by the best of what nature has to offer has given me pause for reflection and time for my mind to be still. And it is in this moment that I want to try and capture the essence of this magical place for my little daughters to relive through these words some years from now.

Dear Miia and Emmi,

You will have heard this from me by now many times over so I hope this letter is but a gentle reminder to you of the importance of being still and letting the power of nature wash over you as often as you can.

Exactly 30 years ago your grandfather, my father, built this place from where I write this letter. He was a mountain of a man with too many virtues to mention here but suffice it to say he was a wonderful father and husband and a charitable man who always provided for those less fortunate. And it was here, on these lands where he was happiest.

However, the world he built this cabin in was a far different place than the world you girls are being introduced to. Technology is evolving at a frenetic pace and virtual living threatens millennia-old real world human traditions. The art of living slowly and being one with nature are endangered species, especially for the ever-increasing number of city slickers on the planet.

But, the more some things change; the more other things stay the same. Just 200 km north of your Toronto home is this secret little spot that looks exactly the same as when your Dad was a wee youngster. The same waves wash up on shore, the same winds whistle through the pines and the same eagles circle high above the cliffs that loom over me. This is irreplaceable, this remoteness. So close to the bustle of the city yet a world away.

And your grandparents knew that. They discovered this precious 400-acre patch of hinterland and in 1984 paid the princely sum of $70,000 for it. A small fortune for them in those days. And then in 1987 your late Grandpa Pertti built this perfect little cabin here in the woods perched on the edge of this perfect little lake.


This cottage and sauna that I cherish so much are part of their legacy, their ongoing gift to our family and to you girls. A place where you can escape to the solitude of the great forest and the call of the shimmering lake. A place to reflect on the importance of the people in your life and the land beneath your feet. A place to be still.

It is here that I am at my happiest and I hope the same of you one day.

Your Dad


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