Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sabbatical Journal, Day One

Sabbatical, 2014
Nova Scotia, Canada

            Return to Parker’s Cove….we arrived on Sunday, just after noon.  The little cottage we had occupied for a week three years ago looked much the same to us.  We quickly became familiar with it once again, bringing in load after load of supplies we brought with us from home, filling each space with things we felt we would need for almost a month of residence here.  We had stopped for food supplies in Digby and brought those sacks and others brought from home to fill the cupboard and fridge. 
            The cottage became immediately familiar to us once again and we sat on the sofa for a while and stared out the large window that faces the bay.  Then, suddenly hungry by all our activity, we shared the rappie pie that we had bought in Clare before coming to the cottage.  Rappie pie is a specialty prepared by the Acadians of Nova Scotia made up of potatoes that have been grated and mixed with chicken broth that are layered into a pan and then meat is added, usually chicken or beef or clams, and then another layer of potatoes is added.  Then the finished product is baked for three hours, beginning at a high temperature and then gradually lowered at intervals until it emerges from the over with a potato layer forming a crust on top and bottom with a middle filled with meat and potato thickened liquid.  We had bought a clam rappie pie and shared it, enjoying the chewy clams along with the potato in two forms. 
            We soon had coffee and were sitting on the porch facing the bay.  We watched the many sea birds—gulls, cormorants, and an occasional heron or pelican.  They sat on the pier in front of us and took turns flying to the rocks where the water had receded due to the low tide.  The fishing boats anchored to the dock sat in the mud, kept prisoner to the tide that was long gone, as if waiting for the water to return to allow them to sail out into the bay once again.  A steady traffic of people walking or driving up to the long concrete pier came by to check on a boat or to take photos or to look out into the bay.  The road leading up the hill echoed the sounds of cars and trucks as they climbed or descended it. 
            It was a pleasant, peaceful Sunday afternoon.  I could feel the tension leave my body as we sat and talked and stared at the ocean in front of us, taking note of birds and cars and visitors to the fishing area held captive by the tide that had taken its leave.  The air was cool and invigorating, a great gift on the first Sunday of August.  The coolness was on the edge of cold; so much so that we both got our jackets we had brought and felt a bit better after that. 
            I can see lessons in the rule of nature in front of me as I observe the changing scenery before us.  Even in the shifting tide there is a truth that comes with water coming and going.  How like life is the water that brings life to the little fishing village.  It is the ocean that is the lifeblood of Parker’s Cove.  It brings lobster and fish and scallops for the fishermen to gather and sell.  It brings economic life for sure but the water itself brings life to all the creatures that share it.  Seagulls rejoice with loud cackles as they dive into the water, attracted by movement that they think must be a meal.  They share the good news with others of their kind so that they can all join in the harvest.  The water begins to return to the cove and the boats begin to lift once again, enabled to go out into the bay if they would desire.  The rocks are covered once again until the next low tide when it will start over again. 
            Before long it was time to begin supper---fish, of course.  We have been enjoying seafood almost daily.  Fish, shrimp, scallops, and lobster are abundant and not nearly as expensive as back home.  We had dinner out the night before in an Acadian restaurant down the coast where we were spending the night before coming to the cottage.  Cuisine d’ Robischeau was the name of the place and French and English was being spoken by staff and customers alike.  We had delicious seafood and chowder and felt very satisfied by the food and the friendliness of the atmosphere.   A band plays there once a week but we were not lucky enough to be there when it is offered.  It is usually full on those nights with tables reserved weeks in advance. 
            I fixed cod and potatoes cooked with onions and garlic for our supper, with a salad on the side.  We ate and were happy to be together in this wonderful place and then took to the porch once again with coffee to watch the sun gradually set.  The cool night air sent us inside and we began to get ready for a great night’s sleep soon. 

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