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Dark Harbour.

July 30, 2019

 

 

 

Moody weather makes me feel more at home in the world. 

I yearn for strong winds and wild places. 

 

When the dark clouds require us to clear the deck and batten down the hatches I am yielding, happiest to be alive. A storm requires nothing of me; neither cheerfulness nor productivity. Perhaps it does require silence. 

 

And then there’s Dark Harbour. Grand Manan Island, a stone in the tide-torn mouth of the Bay of Fundy.

 

Jake and I drive through a forest of cathedral spires, dark spruce on either side. We crest a hill, and layers of misty green woods stretch deep in every direction. Dipping down towards the pier with our windows open, gravel crunches under the wheels as we pull to a quiet stop on the fog-encased pier. 

 

Getting out of the car, the lapping waters of Dark Harbour are barely visible. Not a soul in sight.

 

I open the back hatch of the car, pull out my sneakers. 

They have mesh tops and drain nicely. The tide is rising.

 

Jake and I amble along the cobble coastline separately and in silence. Fresh water flows down from the dark hill above. We pick our way across the estuary, trickling wide into the Atlantic. 

 

The air is thick with water droplets, my skin is happy, my hair turning curly. 

 

The stony shore has bits of plastic rope, shells, seaweed and driftwood. 

 

There are no power lines on this western side of Grand Manan. There are a handful of wooden dories, pulled up on the rocky beach, their bow lines stretching above the high tide mark. Some are hull-worn, some freshly painted in muted colours.

 

Ambling our way in the mist along the harbour reveals a few sun-bleached cedar shingled homes with white trim, windows propped open. No movement within.  

 

One has a small porch with two white rocking chairs, mugs, footwear, all framed by an installation of hung mooring lines and buoys. Lobster traps to the left of the stairs. 

 

We come up with similar reasons why we each absolutely require a solo sabbatical here.

 

Jake looks at all small things in detail, tiny orchid-like plants or marine insects. He points to barnacles on boulders, “Your friends,” he says. 

 

This is a family joke. I envy barnacles. Others want to be reincarnated as a cow, giving me a better shot at a future life as a barnacle. 

 

Standing at the outer edge of the breakwater a light wind lifts the heavy cloud we are in. 

 

We face west to the salt water, a ritual circle of cedar posts rising from the sea, an erected forest for herring nets.  

 

Turning around, the mist has lifted a little and we can see where we are: a naturally created seaside lake, separated from the ocean by long wide band of wave-rounded rocks. Cobble. A purposeful landscape.

 

A living ghost village, and no thing belongs to us. The rising lip of ocean prods us to head back to our car; to our milk crate of books, half open backpacks and soggy cooler with its floating labels and ziplock-bagged blocks of cheese. 

 

Wet shoes, door closing lightly, ignition, rolling gravel crunch, and we head back up the hill.

 

 

 

 

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