Sunday, August 21, 2016

Retracing Our Steps

Closing the Gate

Photos: August 18, 2016

The last of the trucks loaded on the upper deck, the gate began to close. It was time to leave "The Rock."

Lighthouse Near Port aux Basques

Last looks at the rocky shore...


Crossing the Cabot Strait was not quite as smooth as the way there. I found a spot on a bench on the upper deck and lay down. A young girl started yelling excitedly and I got up to see a school of dolphins swimming by.

Some thoughts on Newfoundland 
This is a rugged place. When we spoke with the guide at L’Anse aux Meadows Historic Site, he told us they had no electricity or roads to the community when he was a boy. It was an outport – a community that had to be independent and yet dependent on each other. Communities like this are mainly close-knit with families helping others when they are in need. Like the flowers that grow despite the difficult conditions, Newfoundlanders learned to cope with storms, isolation, difficult work without much access to people outside their community. When the archaeologists arrived in L’Anse aux Meadows, it was again the meeting up of people of two different cultures. These twentieth century Europeans encountered the rural Newfoundlanders who opened their homes to them. Friendly, unpretentious and ready to party – they create their own fun - playing music, creating festivals focused around the environment they live in, from the Mussel Festival in St. Lunaire-Griquet while we were there to the Bakeapple Festival in Forteau just after we left. Kitchen parties in people’s homes are open to many. The chef at Forteau told us he had 60 at his place on the Monday we had arrived and felt bad we had not been invited when he realized the next day that we liked music.
Story-telling and song have a strong tradition in Newfoundland.
And Newfoundland has some wonderful writers.
Here are some I have read and enjoyed:
Wayne Johnston – A Colony of Unrequited Dreams (he has written others since which I have not read)
Donna Morrissey – I like her earlier books best
Bernice Morgan – Random Passage
Kathleen Winter – Annabel
Michael Crummy – I read River Thieves on my last trip to Newfoundland – I’ve had Galore waiting for me but still have not got around to it.
Lisa Moore – February

Newfoundland has developed its own culture, a lot of unique vocabulary, a great sense of pride in their home. But we had to leave and head home.

Near North Sydney

Back to Cape Breton to begin our long drive home.

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