Let's Talk Lyrics - Oak-A-Lea (Dokalee)
You may be thinking - boy those are some cute kids. And you would be right. One of them is me (I'm the blond girl with all the hair in the front). A lovely person named Janet commented on my blog last week (YAY JANET! YAY VALIDATION!) and mentioned my song Oak-A-Lea from my 2013 EP Every Last Wish, and I thought OKAY LET'S TALK ABOUT OAK-A-LEA!
When I was really little, we would always go camping at this lovely little campground in Ontario called Oak-A-Lea. It had a some weird little quirks to it - for some reason it had a whole bookshelf of Harlequin Romance Novels in the women's bathroom. There were summers where the black flies were so intense that you would be covered in bites moments after leaving your trailer (with like... blood running down your face. It was a horror film essentially). In order to get from the campsite to the beach, you had to go down an incredibly steep hill, and one time my mom slipped and pulled a "Hot-Rod-esque" somersault all the way down to the water.
But it was mostly amazing. There was a super awesome playground, and a rock we called Big Ben that we would swim out to as a family, and tons of greenery and sand and beautiful, beautiful, water. I always came away from Oak-A-Lea with a sunburn, sun-bleached white hair, 17 new rocks for my rock collection, and about 4 new friends that I wanted to send letters to over the school year (I couldn't write yet, but that was beside the point. ALSO: letters! CUTE!)
When I look back on my life, all my memories from Oak-A-Lea have that shiny haze that only really early childhood memories can have. I'm sure it wasn't this rosy for my parents (camping with 4 kids under the age of 10 in a camper from the 1960's that leaks when it rains COULD NOT have been as fun for them as it was for me). But we were very happy during those years - and there were some tough years to come that hadn't touched us yet.
I wrote Oak-A-Lea just after I had just moved back to Ontario after living in Alberta for 16 years. I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor in downtown Toronto, washing cars outside for 12 hours a day, and feeling like a failure and a fraud as far as my music career and general adult-ing was concerned. I didn't have anything together - not one thing. And as I was strumming these two easy chords, I just started singing some random words - "Oh the wind and the water so mild, pull me to your shores". And with some time and some reflection, the rest of the song came together, a little love song to a Lake:
I've never had the nerve to go back and visit - apparently they've closed the campsite down, and you can't stay there anymore. But I think that's for the best, in the long run - I mean, you can't go back. That's the hardest thing about growing up. The older you get, the farther away those memories, and those feelings, become. Unless you write a song about it, and perform that song from time to time - then you get to hold onto those feelings a little bit longer.