Most Popular Post

Friday, 14 October 2016

Holdfast

Along the beaches in Prince Edward Island, seaweed washes ashore in abundance.

 

In our city of Summerside, workers remove accumulated seaweed from the beach on a regular basis. Seaweed is a part of life along the coast of this province.

Kelp, one type of seaweed, has a holdfast, a root-like structure, at the end of the stalk which anchors it to a substrate such as a rock. Sometimes, the holdfast is visible when the kelp is on the beach. 

 

More rarely, rough seas issue forth the kelp attached to a rock. In our travels around the beaches of the island this past summer, we have only see one such rock which looked as if the kelp grew out of the it.

 

Holdfast is such an interesting word. For me, it provides an analogy for life where the seas are often calm, and holding on is easy. However, when storms stir up the water, it is hard to hold on and you can be shaken to the core. Like the seaweed, you are dislodged. Such times are the true test. 

Seeing the holdfasts on the beach, reminded me of our family friend, Reuben. He lost his eyesight due to undiagnosed diabetes. Reuben was the sole breadwinner in his family. He and his wife, Florrie, lived in rural Newfoundland over fifty years ago where, if you couldn't fish, there was no way to support yourself except by government assistance. He and his wife always grew vegetables but after Reuben lost his sight, Florrie grew the garden herself.

Learning to be mobile again, feed himself and do all the other daily activities we take for granted, were a challenge for Reuben in a place without professional support. He had a choice however. With the support of his wife and community, Reuben embraced life as it presented itself in a black world. He kept his sense of humour and his love of life throughout the remainder of his days. Reuben was an example of how to live in the face of adversity, when blackness surrounds you.

Unlike the seaweed, we have a choice in how we deal with rough seas. Everyone needs time to process life's challenges. Then, we can choose to adapt and move forward or give in to the blackness. I pray to holdfast.

26 comments:

  1. This is beautiful, Marie. Very profound and has made me thoughtful this morning. This is the sort of thing I hope to write myself. Thank you for this lovely word gift. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are welcome, Jan. Inspiration for me comes from unusual places.

      Delete
  2. Reuben sounds like a helluva guy. Couldn't have been easy for Florrie either, I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Florrie is getting a post of her own, Debra.

      Delete
  3. Nice to see. These are good for garden soil I would think.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seaweed is great for gardens. Recycling at its best.

      Delete
  4. Thanks for sharing Reuben's story. Holdfast is a great word.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the idea of holdfast. It is a great word, Celia.

      Delete
  5. I am so often awed at the way which people meet challenges. And humour (sometimes black) has been my holdfast often.
    A truly thought provoking post. Thank you.
    And my gardening self itches to use that seaweed...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've collected some for the garden this year, EC. My grandfather never used fertilizer, just kelp.

      Delete
  6. What a great lesson you have teased out of kelp.

    ReplyDelete
  7. what a connection you made between the two stories. thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Beautiful words and words of wisdom Marie. I do appreciate it!! Indeed we do need to holdfast and a what a great example Reuben was for us all. I have eaten kelp before in a salad at a friends house, I wonder if it is the same type of kelp you have in photos. I appreciate any chance I have to learn more about the ocean, thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I don't know if seaweed is harvested for food here, other than a type called Irish moss. It is used in the production of ice cream.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A timely reminder that life doesn't always go down the path we want it to and to make the most of what we have.

    Each time we visit The Golfer's cousins in N.S. The dulse comes out. Nasty stuff yuk lol

    Cathy

    Blogger doesn't recognise my w/press account so here is a direct link

    Cathy @ Still Waters


    ReplyDelete
  11. Found you, Cathy!

    I see dulse to buy but never do.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello Marie! I'm so happy to meet you, I just happened upon your blog, and I thoroughly enjoyed your pictures of the island beach with the kelp. I remember the kelp very well. My dad would use it in his garden, and also sometimes in the fall he would gather it and bank it against the house to help keep the house warmer during the winter months. Islanders get quite creative with that stuff since there is so much of it, lol! I hope we get to know each other better, and maybe we will have a connection, as I grew up on the Island :) I live in Idaho now and blog at http://www.mountaintopspice.blogspot.com I really appreciated your illustration of holding on... and your inspiring story of your friends too. Hugs to you today!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Glad to meet you too, SUI. I will follow your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a perfect analogy of your friend Rueben to the holdfast seaweed, Marie, along your beaches. Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story.

    I also wonder if there is an industry there that makes use of the seaweed/kelp like the Asians do, for instance. I have a Thai friend who LOVES eating packaged dried seaweed!

    ReplyDelete
  15. We can buy dulse here but I don't think it is harvested here. There is harvesting of a seaweed called Irish moss, for the carageenan used in ice cream.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have a friend who is in despair over her health. I want to tell her to "adapt and move forward" but I'm not sure if that has to come from inside. I wish she would be a Ruben in her dark world.

    ReplyDelete
  17. It takes some of us longer than others to adapt to our changing circumstances. I hope your friend finds her peace with the circumstances she finds herself in today.

    ReplyDelete