On change and connection at Point Pelee

I’ve been thinking about change lately. And not only because the world is suspended in a grey space between the fall lushness and the white splendour of winter. Or because we are about to put another decade behind us. Our family is going through a change as well. Not a massive seismic shift. More of a gentle, gradual transformation, like the water reshaping the shore of the lake or the forest constantly redrawing its contours.

southernmost point of mainland Canada at Point Pelee National Park

Our trips and microadventures that went from four to three team members a while ago are now increasingly reduced to my husband and myself as our fifteen-year-old son makes plans of his own. And while we do enjoy each other’s company, it is still an adjustment. So we return to the same places that hold so many memories: never ending searches for geocaches, bird feeding turned into a game – whoever gets more birds to land on their hand wins, our younger son not being able to pass by the smallest patch of ice without trying to break it. We recount those stories to each other as our feet pound those same trails creating new memories – this time with just the two of us.

selfie at Hilton Falls Conservation area

Not that this changes is unexpected. The moment they are born, children start their journey away from us, eventually taking a path of their own. Our kids’ trails haven’t veered too far away yet; often they run right alongside ours for long stretches until the trail splits off again. Occasionally, all our paths converge in some familiar place like Point Pelee a few weeks ago.

beach at Point Pelee National Park

Point Pelee has a lot going for it: it is the southernmost point of mainland Canada, one of the smallest among Canada’s national parks yet the most ecologically diverse. But that’s not why we love it. We come here for what it doesn’t have: the hustle and bustle of the city, which is particularly noticeable during the shoulder season. At Camp Henry, ours was one of the two oTENTiks occupied over the weekend. oTENTiks is another reason we keep returning to this park: cozy, convenient, with a campfire smell courtesy of a wood stove – everything we love in our cold weather accommodations.

coffee and book in front of a wood stove

This trip was not very different from our past visits and served as a good reminder that some things never change. Even though I now have to constantly tilt up my head to look at my kids, they still sometimes behave like five-year-olds teasing and mock-wrestling each other. There are still endless rounds of board games. And whenever I suggest a jumping photo, there is still a lot of grumbling and yet, they go through with it, even if it requires multiple takes in less than ideal weather.

hiking at Point Pelee National Park

playing around at Point Pelee National Park

jumping at the tip at Point Pelee National Park

As always, we took it slow during our trip: read, played games, hiked to the Tip. Walking through the park became a study in connections. Vines climbing up trees, wrapping them in a tight embrace, some getting swallowed by the bark. Tree trunks melding together, then pushing each other apart, only to reconnect again. Fungi coating rotting stumps, betraying the presence of an invisible underground network that connects trees in the forest near and far. Our kids may no longer need to wrap around us like vines but I know we will always be connected no matter how far away their paths take them.

oak leaf on the ground

vines climbing up a tree at Point Pelee     vine ingrown into the tree bark

yellow leaves on a tree

fungus on a tree trunk

trail at Point Pelee National Park     interconnected hackberry trees

moss on a tree trunk

mushrooms in the moss

fungi on a tree trunk

grass blade

One thought on “On change and connection at Point Pelee

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s