Before we left Nova Scotia to head back to the States we got a chance to visit Chester, another of the pretty seaside communities you find all over Canada’s Maritime Provinces. In the Chester Harbor, next to the town memorial to fallen soldiers, was a colorful, lichen-stained stone wall that looked like it had been there a hundred years. And, now that I think of it, maybe it had.
Anyone who has been to Mahone Bay in Nova Scotia knows of the three churches. They stand side by side at the corner of town and on the edge of the bay. Their bells ring and echo down the inlet, letting us know the time. And, on a wondrously calm, breathtakingly quiet morning, like today, they reflect perfectly in the still waters of the bay.
Our hosts described Lunenberg, Nova Scotia as being like San Francisco. They mentioned that the town is built into hillside, just like the City by the Bay. But there is more to the similarity than steeply inclined streets. Lunenberg has a bit of a countercultural vibe to it, like I imagine Haight Ashbury had during the Summer of Love in the ’60s, with quirky diners and stores selling what appear to be Wiccan supplies.
The psychedelic paint jobs on many of the old wooden houses in the town add to the effect. Every block features a riotous collection of paint jobs that use every hue in the rainbow. The different colors make the street views real treat.
Lunenburg, Nova Scotia is a fishing town. When you walk down to the dock, you see a somber memorial to all of the sailors who have lost their lives at sea over the centuries. You also see one of the crafts on which Lunenburg’s fishing tradition was built — the humble dory.
A dory is a long boat with a flat bottom, narrow bow and stern, and high sides that is made with ribbing and wide wooden planks. It’s a sturdy little vessel with ample room for the fisherman, his gear and his bait, and (we hope) the day’s catch. The dory has carried many a fisherman out onto the water in search of the elusive schools of fish, and it carries them still.
Yesterday morning Mahone Bay was covered with a pea soup blanket of fog, so dense we couldn’t see the end of the dock in front our cottage. By late morning it had burned off, and by afternoon it was bright and hot along the bay.
When I went for a bike ride toward the ocean at about 3 p.m., however, I noticed that the fog was still shrouding some of the barrier islands leading out to the ocean. It was out there, looming, like some wild creature waiting for the campfire to burn out before moving back in again. Sure enough, when I woke up this morning the fog was back.
Many environmentalists have voiced concerns about the consequences of fracking. Now they are joined by a billionaire Saudi prince — who is concerned for a different reason.
Fracking is the process by which deep underground rock formations are broken up to free trapped natural gas, oil, and other fossil fuels. It has produced a nascent oil boom in eastern Ohio and other parts of the United States that are home to shale formations where the fossil fuels are found.
The Saudi prince, Alwaleed bin Talal, is worried because he thinks the increased oil and natural gas production that has been caused by fracking threatens the Saudi Kingdom’s economy, which is almost wholly dependent on oil production. The outspoken prince is a bit of a rogue element in Saudi Arabia, but his point is irrefutable: If demand from the United States declines due to the availability of domestic shale oil production, it will inevitably have an impact on suppliers. Two OPEC countries, Nigeria and Algeria, have already seen a sharp decline in U.S. imports of their oil.
For years, America has talked about the importance of breaking its dependency on middle Eastern oil — a result that also would reduce the pressure on America’s deep involvement in all of the geopolitical issues that are found in that troubled region of the world. America’s shale oil and natural gas reserves are believed to be enormous and, as Prince Talal notes, may allow us to achieve that goal. As we address the issues surrounding oil shale production in our country, we need to keep that fact in mind.