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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Lunch at Northport

It is a tiny strip of land which juts into the water at Northport. Every year my husband and I visit this place and have a picnic. We are early this year. The far western portion of Prince Edward Island still has lots of snow, so our picnic was among the melting drifts. While the breeze was cold, the setting was invigorating. 

There is nothing like a cup of tea in the great outdoors. Today, the heat of the mug warms our hands. We enjoyed our sandwiches as if they were a gourmet meal, the bread made the previous day. We listened to the lap of the water and the birds. No need for conversation.

The gulls were busy around the water, talking to each other while we enjoyed lunch. Normally, we watch the boats go by too, but we are a few weeks early this year. In the distance we can see the activity in the port around the wharf as fishers prepare for the season.

Then a group of three juvenile bald eagles take our attention. The eagles circle the area, scanning for any movement on the sand or in the snow. They cross the water and disappear on the opposite shore for a few minutes but come back again. Two circle each other closely in what could be an aggressive move, then disappear in the trees nearby.

One reappears and plays with a sea gull. They circle each other high above us and take turns chasing each other. They glide on the breeze sometimes, in an effortless use of the air currents. They are birds at play.

You couldn’t pay for the experience.

Monday, 16 April 2018

To the sea

A few sunny days with temperatures above zero, without any wind, became our first picnic excursions for this year. Heavy coats, sans hat and gloves, were sufficient to be comfortable. We headed to the water, eager to see the beach after the winter.

Richmond Bay, just north of home is mostly frozen but the ice is thin now. 

In a cottage area, a picnic table awaits the return of the cottagers.

At Cabot Beach, vestiges of winter cling to the coastline. 

Some waves aren’t fluid yet.

In nearby Malpeque, the frozen inlet is busy as fishers work on their fishing gear for the upcoming lobster season. 

Boats wait for the ice to melt. Before long, they will be back in their natural environment.

In a yard nearby, buoys by the hundreds wait for the time they’ll be afloat again for another season.

It is busy in the harbours again. Lobster season is only a few weeks away. The sea is calling!

Friday, 13 April 2018

Small but mighty

As I walked along the road by Grand River, geese rooted for some perceived treasure in a field to the right.

They honked as they worked the field in a leisurely fashion. But a little sparrow made me stop and listen. She demanded attention. 

The tiny sparrow was high in the spruce tree as she looked down over the river.

The bird sang her heart out, fluffed up in spite of the pleasant sunny day, the volume of her song much larger than her size.

Below the road, large birds dominated the riverscape which included the surface of Grand River and its thin layer of ice. The gulls made that seaside gull sound, haunting in a way but welcome and familiar. 

The quacks of black ducks could be heard in the lull of the seagulls, a gentler sound but distinctive just the same.

In the background, geese were in conversation, their geese-speak in the distance sounding strangely like a human crowd.

Through it all, the most impressive was the tiny sparrow, head lifted in song, 

proclaiming her truth to the heavens with exceptional beauty, oblivious to the bigger birds. They could not compete with her melodious offering. That one tiny sparrow was more powerful and effective than flocks and gaggles of the larger birds. 

There may be a lesson here.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Notre Dame du Mont Carmel

There has been a church in this spot since 1812 on Prince Edward Island. This is the third building, here since 1898. Known as Notre Dame du Mont Carmel, this church is an islander, made of red brick from the island.

The catholic church sits in the Evangeline region of Prince county, home to many Acadians. It was designed by Rene Lemay, an architect and son of Pamphile Lemay who translated the epic poem, “Evangeline,” by H. W. Longfellow into French, in 1865, almost twenty years after it was written. 

The church is on the coast in Mont Carmel, behind a stone archway. The Northumberland Strait in the background was frozen when we visited.

There are two bell towers at the front of the Victorian era building and the traceried windows are inspired by Gothic design.

The statue of Mother Mary and Child Jesus is prominent inside the archway. 

The cemetery alongside the church is behind archways as well, one separating the cemetery from the church 

and one from the roadway. Inside the cemetery is a stone mausoleum. 

The archways amaze me, not only for their grand design and craftsmanship, use of natural elements and positioning. Rocks such as these are a rare commodity on the island. It is common for garden centers to sell rocks. For the construction of breakwaters and causeways, rocks are brought in from other provinces. We have never seen rocks such as those in the archways. 

The exterior beauty of this church makes us want to see the inside again. 

Next time.

Monday, 9 April 2018

A change in wind direction

The harbour was frozen as usual this winter and then, after the ice along the shoreline started to melt, a strong Nor’easter drove the ice field offshore. Not for long however. It was lurking offshore in the Northumberland Strait. We could see it in the distance and on satellite images. 

This Nasa image from March 26th, shows Prince Edward Island in the bottom left of the photo. There is open water on the south shore in the Strait but the ice field is along the coast of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

This past week, a south westerly wind moved the ice field onshore again.

As the week progressed, more of the ice entered the harbour. 

On days without any wind, there is a chill in the air as you walk along the shoreline. The ice isn’t finished with us yet.