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.
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.
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.
The dock in front of our rental unit, jutting out into Mahone Bay, is a perfect place to spend a bright Sunday afternoon. I planned on swimming, but the water is too darned frigid for my tastes. But the sun is hot on my face, the beer is cold against my hand, the rough wood of the dock feels warm on my feet, and I can’t help but hear a familiar song in my head.
I wish Otis Redding were here to enjoy the day, too.
Nothing acquaints you with a new location quite like watching the sunrise. At Mahone Bay, in Nova Scotia, that means seeing the sun’s golden rays shimmering on the fronts of the buildings on the rim of the bay and reflecting on the bay’s calm waters, hearing the cries of seagulls, and breathing deep the clean, fresh air. Now, it’s time to scare up a cup of coffee.