The bleached cocktail cherry sun nestles in a jagged cleft of the Canadian Shield. Shadowy conifers matt the cheeks of the silent forest. Shadowy birches spike like the bristle of overgrown beard on the Muskoka hills. Suspended over the plate-glass skin of Gull Lake is a long empty dock that juts  from the tumble of moss-filmed rocks on the shore. A cloak of condensation dusts the long strips of smooth cedar with damp glitter. Spider webs jeweled with dew shiver with each bump of the scarred wooden rowboat trussed at the bow to a rusted wharf ring. The busy silence crowds my ears. It’s five thirty in the morning in July. A marshmallow crème haze coats the far banks of the lake, breaking up…

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