. I'm one of those people who are mesmerized by the open ocean. I know that I belong to a pretty large group of devout gazers, yet I feel that the ocean is mine alone. It has been for a long time. . Almost every vacation I've ever taken has married me to a brine-lapped island: Scotland, Maui, Mount Desert Island, Prince Edward Island, Les Iles de la Madeleine, the British Virgin Islands, St.Barths, and so on. Even when I lived landlocked in Toronto, I found solace on Toronto Island. I bum-sided the downtown high-rises and peered to the south, across the freshwater expanse of Lake Ontario toward New York State. . The beaches of Toronto Island were full of potential, despite their insignificant stature (more than a sandbox, less than Daytona). They were fringed with verdant foliage, offering relief from the relentless summer sun. The sand held many secrets, and the occasional syringe. It also held signs warning of E.coli outbreaks during the hot summer months. Sadly, the signs said 'go away, go away', though the green lake water always beckoned in warmer tones. Eventually I did go away, back to New Brunswick. . For a boy who loves to sit by the ocean, you might wonder why I live inland. Sometimes I ask myself that same question. Why do I live in the middle of a million acre spruce forest? I can't stand a stand of spruce trees, particularly those monoculture tree farms that dare to call themselves forests. The answer, as always, is water. New Brunswick, for me, is like a big piece of gateau. The forests are the cake, the lakes are the creamy icing and the rivers flow like Kirsch. The autumn maples of the hardwood forest are the blazing cherries on top. . Mmmm...water, trees. I'm drooling like a Jenny Craig spokesbeaver from the prairies. Black (spruce) forest cake, anyone? . Living in Cambridge-Narrows, I feel like I'm swimming in the icing. I'm never more than a blink away from the water. I would never confuse my lake with the ocean. The ocean feels dangerous, and that's part of its allure. The ocean is gin and vermouth; shaken, stirred and wild. My lake is iced tea and root beer, the perfect picnic complement. . An angry ocean offers few reflections as the waves steal the sky. Reflection is left to me, and reflect I do...on my life. On my other lives. I've convinced myself that, had I been born two hundred years ago, I would have spent my life on the sea. In all likelihood, I would have been hauling on sheets (lines), hoisting the main. Sailors didn't take well to leisurologists, and had I practiced my craft on a working ship, then I might have found myself on the rocks of Pitcairn, watching my ship sail out. Bon voyage! . Hmm, I wonder if there's any good surfing on Pitcairn. . So, I live inland, where calm waters reflect the goodness of a gentle life. I think about the ocean often, but never when I'm admiring a stand of trees back lit by a Popsicle sky. I could watch inland sunsets forever, sharing a quiet glass of rum with my favourite parrot.