We’ve seen a few before on roof tops in Newfoundland. This one was on a roof top in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, however. During our autumn visit there, we noticed the widow’s walk, the fenced area on the roof of a house, above the street on the hill overlooking the harbour. (The photo, taken from a horse-drawn carriage, isn’t great quality.)
In seaside communities, these roof top walking areas are associated with the families of seafarers. The woman of the house climbed to the walk and watched for her husband’s vessel to return home. Such walks were on the homes of wealthy captains because poor sailors or fishers could never have afforded such luxury.
The sight of this widow’s walk reminded me of a poem we learned in school in Newfoundland. The poem was written by EJ Pratt who was born on the island. It speaks of the elements and how their consequences affected the women, whose stories are not often told!
It took the sea a thousand years,
A thousand years to trace
The granite features of this cliff,
In crag and scarp and base.
It took the sea an hour one night,
An hour of storm to place
The sculpture of these granite seams
Upon a woman's face.
Coastline of Newfoundland