Wilderness is Such a Damn Showoff

By July 10, 2013 Blog No Comments

I’ve been in Newfoundland for two days, and I’ve already learned a couple of things. One, don’t expect anything too fast. The residents of the small coastal town where I’m living are truly on island time. Yesterday, I broke out in hives while trying to get my American check card, and then American dollars, to work at Walmart. No one else seemed to mind, including the man waiting behind me, whose four pack of lightbulbs were incredibly patient with my two carts of home start-up supplies. Their pace can also be experienced at restaurants, bank lines, and while driving. I’m going to have to learn to slow down and to breathe regularly whether I’m ready to or not. Something else I’ve learned is that when driving here, I must always remember that the person in the car up ahead may pull off the side of the road at any time to hike the heavily wooded shoulder or fish in one of the lakes or rivers packed full of trout and salmon. I must be prepared to pump the brakes. I must be prepared to cuss and swerve. I can’t be too angry though. I’ve often wanted to pull off myself. Our first night in town, we went to a rocky beach flanked with steep jagged cliffs. My children spent hours exploring the tide pools full of sea urchins and sea snails. They skipped stones, splashed in the ice cold tide, filled pails with shells and tiny sea life; my teenage son scaled the sharp rocks that jut out over the North Atlantic and found jellyfish and bright starfish hidden in the seaweed just under the water line. Last night, he took the canoe out over our backyard lake, paddling through lily pads clinging to the soft bottom, while the girls caught minnows and frogs off the dock with a small net. We watched them from the back windows, listening to a family of ducks and a couple bellowing bull frogs. It was well after dark when we pulled them in, dirty and grinning like drunks. The bin of toys they brought sits unopened in their bedroom closet alongside the silent video game console. I think they are falling in love. I can’t say I blame them. There is something so heartbreakingly gorgeous about this wilderness. It has a force, a pulse. It’s such a damn showoff. Every day we wake up to something new, a light fog over the lake, a family of snails on the front porch, a newly bloomed peony humming with bumblebees. I can’t remember waking for more than the alarm clock back home. I’m looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. I just heard my youngest tell her older brother about the bowl of live mussels she left on the patio. Who knows what else is out there…

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