Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The road of No Knitting

A lot of the time I write about knitting as a metaphor for other things, but today?  That title is literal.  This is literally a road you cannot knit on, unless you're out of the passenger seat of your car and leaning on a tree at the side of it.  At some magical time of the year that is not hunting season, bug season, or freeze your hands off season.


Really pretty, isn't it?  This is what you turn onto from the 'main' road.  It doesn't get creepy until much later.

There are a few roads like this in the area around our cottage - old routes that were used by northeastern Ontario pioneers who were allotted this land in return for showing up and homesteading it.  People who crossed the ocean in anticipation of farmland and found rock under dense, buggy forest.  Many tried mining the land, and for a while villages sprang up, but most died of those away along with the dreams of making a living here when it was discovered that what minerals were present were too expensive to get out of the rock.

In some places, the banks on either side of the road climb up several feet, trees growing densely the whole time.

And in other places, you find evidence of thriving communities from the past, such as the sides of a solid old bridge.

Thought you'd like to see the view from the bridge - we sure did:

When the water is higher in spring, I expect those are actual rapids.  And just beyond this bridge, which is a good 40 minutes' drive either way from any other sort of civilization, there is an old but still well-maintained cemetery, and actual lived-in houses spread a little way apart.

It must have been incredibly lonely living out here a hundred and fifty years ago.

And how you would grow anywhere near enough to live on... but there were other things to eat than just crops, like fish or pheasants.

Can you even see the pheasants in this picture?  Maybe if you click to enlarge it.

The fish and pheasants are still here.

Another common sight: hunting clubs.  I did mention you wouldn't want to stroll along here with your knitting during hunting season, right?

It took over an hour to drive this particular patch of the road - there are two other sections of it separated by more active cross roads - and eventually it pops out of the forest and into wide marshes or even reedy lakes where you can see the sky.

And I have to say, I would go crazy if I had had to live on any part of it even now, let alone when it was first made, especially once night fell.  It's just so remote.  When I think of pioneer women and all the different jobs that had not only to be able to do but to fit into one day, fending off downright fear and loneliness seems like just about the last straw.  But they did it, didn't they - they raised children and kept house and made lives for themselves in areas like this.

They even figured out how to knit here.  But I bet they didn't do it out on that road!

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