As loyal readers know, for the last few days we’ve been knocking around Maine and Nova Scotia, visiting towns and bays in that beautiful part of the world. In addition to being beautiful, I’ve also realized it’s big.
I like driving, but to get from Maine to Nova Scotia you must cross an entire Canadian province — New Brunswick — as you crawl up the west side of the Bay of Fundy and then down the eastern side. It’s a long, butt-numbing journey. The roads are excellent, but Canada is vast. You look out over mile after mile of pine tree-covered landscape, and you think that the flora in Canada must be responsible for producing a huge percentage of the world’s breathable oxygen. The freshness of the air is almost intoxicating.
Here’s another indication of just how big Canada is: if you drive the main highways through Nova Scotia you will pass by Stewiacke, an otherwise unremarkable N.S. burg whose claim to fame is that it is at the midpoint between the North Pole and the Equator. There’s some dispute about the precision of that claim, but it’s roughly accurate. Surprising, isn’t it? Given Central America, and America, I would have thought that the midpoint was much farther south. It gives you a dim sense of the size of the area north of America’s northern border.
Americans tend not to think much about our friends to the north of that border. They are polite, and friendly, and delightful folks who don’t cause us any trouble, and therefore we kind of take them for granted. That’s too bad. I’ve enjoyed every trip I’ve ever made to a Canadian destination, and I look forward to the next one. I’d encourage any American who likes lakes, and oceans, and scenic beauty to look northward. There’s a lot to see and enjoy up there.