Swimming with Sharks

Swimming with Sharks | Sophster-Toaster

Pepper has loved water since she was a little puppy having “pool parties” in her water bowl. She loves chasing waves, splashing in puddles and running through sprinklers so we were very excited to take her up to the cottage and play in the lake. She liked putting her paws in the water and playing on the large rocks that stretch out into the lake, just under the water’s surface, but she only only properly swam once and didn’t seem to like the way her thick fur weighed her down. We decided to let her find swimming in her own time and accepted that, although she loves playing in shallow water, she may never like swimming.

Swimming with Sharks | Sophster-Toaster

Since coming home from our weekend jaunt to the cottage, we’ve passed our steamy summer days walking along familiar rivers and taking evening trips to the beach. Pepper dips her legs in the river to cool down and enjoys running down the beach in the shallow water after a long, hot day. During one of our recent trips to the beach, she surprised us and confidently left the shallow shoreline to take a short swim with us as we waded out into the water; maybe her shark fin gave her courage. The next time we returned to the beach, she met another Australian Shepherd and paddled around with him for a little bit while his owner told us that he didn’t like swimming at first either. She dashed in and out of the water, swimming, herding the waves and shaking out the whole time we were there, like it was nothing.

Swimming with Sharks | Sophster-Toaster

The lake at the cottage is a little different because there isn’t really anywhere you can ease in, you just have to jump, so I’m not sure she’ll get in this time either, but I’m so excited to see if she’ll swim while we’re up there again for our summer vacation.

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Bathing Suit ModCloth
Skirt Steady Clothing
Sunglasses ModCloth

Pepper’s Shark Fin Labrashark

All photos by me and Matt Harrison.

Enjoy Winter, While You Can

The other day, someone wrote into the radio station I was listening to to say, “winter’s almost over, enjoy it while you can”. It seemed like one of the most alien concepts a Canadian could encounter at the end of a particularly harsh February. It was in direct opposition to everything I had seen while wandering the Internet as I ate my breakfast. I had scrolled past three individual text-over-image posts conveying nothing other than, hey guys, remember bonfires? with thousands of likes each, an ad announcing that spring styles are in stores now!, a recipe for a summer cocktail, 11 Reasons Why We Hate Vancouver Right Now, and several other reminders of how much North America hates winter only a few hours earlier.

After my second year of trying, obstinately, to create an appreciation of winter so I could trick myself into liking it, thereby mitigating my winter sadness, I found this stranger’s words incredibly inspiring. It’s -12°C right now, -20°C with the windchill, but the sun is out and shining through the icicles that hang from every building in the city, the sky is that bright, crisp blue the you only get to see when it’s too cold to snow, the rich, dark brown branches of the bare trees are silhouetted against streets and houses covered in a downy blanket of blindingly bright white snow, I’m wearing a cardigan several sizes too big for me because I stole it from my husband’s side of the closet and I’m happy.

I think a huge part of embracing winter is getting out of the house, by choice, on days like these and spending some time soaking it all in. That’s why when my husband asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday this year, I said “go to the beach”.

Beach in Winter Winter Beach - Port Dalhousie, St. Catharines

I didn’t grow up near the beach so driving across the city just to see some frozen water was quite novel and exhilarating for me. My friends couldn’t understand why I would do such a thing.

Port Dalhousie Beach in Winter - St. Catharines, Ontario, CanadaEnjoy WinterWalking on Lake OntarioFrozen Waves at the Port Dalhousie Lighthouse

It was quiet. The carousal was boarded up for winter, the obnoxiously buff volley ball guys were gone and there wasn’t a single family reuniting over hot dogs. It was just us, the birds, a few people playing hockey out on the ice and a handful of other couples in the know. It was cold, otherworldly and beautiful.

Pier and Marina in Winter