Winter is flexing its muscle a little earlier than usual in Nova Scotia, already covering the long back yard of the old place with snow. Greg arrived home from last weekend’s renovation efforts to report there is ice on the inlet, something we had not expected to see before January.
This seems a fitting end to 2016, a year that has left the world a colder place, tilting toward fear and protectionism. With this hibernation of hope it is tempting to pull inward, to settle ourselves on this small plot of land, perhaps take our cue from a transferware cup I spotted recently in an antique store:
“Let the wealthy and great
Roll in splendour and state
I envy them not I declare it
Eat my own lamb
My own chickens and ham
I shear my own fleece and I wear it
I have lawns I have bowers
I have fruits I have flowers
The lark is my morning alarmer
So jolly boys now
Here God speed the plough
Long life and success to the farmer.”
Quaint though the cup makes it sound, we’re not naive enough to pack up two teenagers for a life of subsistence farming.
Instead we will trust that seasons will change and nature, human and otherwise, will find a way of redeeming itself.
Off in the inlet, there remains a long cut of open water, a channel that runs clear and cold as everything around it freezes into stillness. Ice may well stretch across it in the bitterest days of winter, but below the surface the water will flow, resistant, forceful, and waiting.
When the warmth returns, as it is bound to do, we will lower kayaks into the water and paddle toward the channel. Its current will carry us from our sheltered inlet, under the little bridge at the roadway, to the vast, restorative Atlantic.