We had two telephone calls on the cottage phone yesterday, the first by a woman wanting to talk to the person who owns the cottage. I told her that she was not here. She then said that I must be a member of the household. I told her that I was not. I was not going to give any additional information until she told me that she would call back later to which I told her that I was renting the house she was calling and that the owner would not be back here for at least a month or more. She thanked me for that information and the call ended. Then, just a few minutes later there was a call with a recording telling me that I had won a cruise and could find out how to enjoy it at which I hung up.
Communication with the outside world is rare now. The cottage we are renting has no television, no internet, no cell phone service, only a land line which we can use to call back home using a calling card, which we charged up before leaving home. There is a radio which gets 6-8 stations clearly, with the one which I like best broadcast in French. There is something interesting about listening to music sung in French. If you like the music behind the words, you really don’t care what the words are saying. The station plays a good mix of music, most songs sung in French but also some classical pieces, some that sound new age in nature, even a bit or rap which I would not like at all if it was in English but in French who cares what they are saying. The music, the beat is nice, so I listen to it. There are stations that play American music, mostly Country, and a few rock stations in English. Often we do not have the radio at all, just the silence of the house and noises of seabirds and waves splashing on the rocks as the tide comes in and goes out.
It is actually not bad to not have as much news from the world around us. We never hear about wars or fires or floods or murders or all the bad news we are accustomed to hearing about when we live our lives as modern persons. We often feel oppressed by the weight of evil and violence in our world. It is refreshing to be removed from it all for a short time.
Even when we go out into the world around us, to tour and look around, we rarely see news broadcasts or read a paper. We may visit with people on the streets or in towns who are interested in learning what we think about their province and a bit about where we are from. It is usually very pleasant and the world around us disappears in the friendliness we experience from others who are a great deal like we are even if we do live in different countries.
Anne Murray is a product of Nova Scotia. Her childhood home and a museum dedicated to her life and music is in Springtown, which is about 100 miles from here. We have been to it once, on our first trip to Nova Scotia back in 2000 or so. You can learn a lot about her life and what shaped her to be the person and singer she became as you look at the exhibits. A record she made long ago includes the song, “A Little Good News” which I have on my mp3 player that I use when I walk. It talks about how depressing it is to daily have our barrage of negatives that come to us through the news media daily. Then, it says how good it would be one day to have the news reporter say there is little to report that day because nothing bad has happened. Instead, they report on a county fair, how people have cleaned up the air, and learned to care for one another.
Idealistic thinking, for sure, perhaps even utopian, but how refreshing it is now and then to just remove ourselves from the negative influences of the world that shape our thinking and to think about good things.
St. Paul told the church at Philippi to think about what is “honorable…just…pure…pleasing…commendable, if there is anything worthy of praise…” (Philippians 4:8) Think about these things….That is a command, something that must be intentional, and perhaps even intentionally planned to do.
It is easy to avoid the negatives that come to us by the way of the media when you are in a place such as we are right now, but when we return to our regular way of life, how will we do it then? Intentionally, perhaps, and intentionally planning how to make it happen.
This afternoon we went for a 2.2 km hike to Delaps Cove, which is about 5 miles down the road from where we are staying. It is a nice wooded area and the hike took us through woods of maples, birches, and evergreens with many ferns along the way until we reached the shore. We walked on a path overlooking the ocean which was at low tide so many pools of water stood among the rocks where the water had once stood.
We began to hear the sound of rushing water and came upon a waterfall emerging from a canyon. When the tide is high, the waterfall pours into the water of the bay in the inlet. Other hikers were down in the inlet area where the water resides at high tide and they were climbing on the rocks and examining them. We paused to look at the waterfall and take pictures and then continued on through the woods again and back to our car. We were very tired from our hike but satisfied that we had explored a bit more of the area, earning our dinner to come of scallops, green beans and potatoes with onion and garlic, and oatmeal molasses bread.
The sun shone brightly most of the day today which was a treat and a blessing. The fog has been more common that we thought it would be and we sat on the porch on our chairs and looked out over the beautiful Bay of Fundy watching the seabirds and the activity of people around the boats in the harbor. It was a very satisfying day.