My travel bug to explore a new place or to revisit an old one will often surface on a Sunday. Wouldn’t you know the bug decided to make its appearance on a recent Sunday that didn’t hold much promise for any sun, but at least no threat of rain in the forecast as far as I could see from the latest weather report. We needed rain, but rather than wait around for some to come, I decided to chance it anyway. I needed to get out and about to explore. There would undoubtedly be cloud and fog since I decided to visit an old haunt I hadn’t seen for several years… the District of Clare. This is Acadian country where fog rules whenever the sun disappears…which is often.
Clare is the largest Acadian region in Nova Scotia on St. Mary’s Bay or Baie Sainte-Marie dating back to 1768. County Clare was the name adopted by the first English settlers who arrived there calling it after County Clare in Ireland. Today it’s officially called the Municipality of the District of Clare where both French and English descendents reside and conduct business. More than 60 per cent of the population today is descended from the Acadians who resettled here after their expulsion by the British from Grand Pre in 1755. Today Clare is one of the province’s most popular tourist destinations with its vibrant French culture featuring fantastic ocean views, Acadian cuisine, elegant churches, music and art. Second to their tourism is the prosperous ship building and fish processing industries all along this southwestern shore.
With the onset of a heat wave in late June and a gradual lift in the lockdown imposed upon us by COVID, many of us were more than ready to tentatively emerge beyond the four walls of our homes. When a dear friend called me to say she had to ‘get out of town’ and was thinking it it would be fun to head to the North Shore of beautiful Nova Scotia, I didn’t hesitate to say, ‘Yes, let’s go!’
After numerous phone calls, we found what looked like a nice place to stay in the Village of Tatamagouche. Tata, as it’s fondly called, has a population of approximately 2,000 people. It’s located on the Sunrise Trail on the shores of the Northumberland Strait separating Nova Scotia from Prince Edward Island.
“Nothing is good or bad for thinking that makes it so” – William Shakespeare
I marvel at how great minds have expressed truisms that have lasted for so long and yet go unnoticed by so many of us these days. I chose this one from Shakespeare’s ” Hamlet ” because it is one we need to keep in mind as we face the challenges facing us now and in the future.
As some of the lockdown restrictions imposed upon us by COVID-19 are lifted, we should be thankful for that, but still remain vigilant because this virus will in all probability hang around to haunt us again. For the present, we can now go outside and use our parks and trails to get a breath of fresh air and some much needed exercise. As our days slowly morphed into spring, we joyfully welcomed this small step forward to some kind of normality which will hopefully relieve some of the stress that many Canadians are feeling during this time.
After recently slogging through a day where there was little news other than the latest statistics indicating that our number of coronavirus cases was still increasing, that we would have to keep washing our hands and carry on with our social distancing at least until the end of June, I couldn’t help feeling that life basically sucked. Fortunately, the next day I was snapped out of my sombre state with these words written by the Indian author and political activist, Arundhati Roy. I get many emails these days relating to COVID-19. Most of them get deleted because after awhile they become repetitive. However, this one from Greenpeace with Roy’s insight on what we could expect in the future, caught my attention. It hit upon something that was bothering me: Have we already forgotten about the climate crisis that faced us before COVID-19 reared its ugly head? We may be hearing that air pollution has decreased in some parts of the world and certain birds and animals we haven’t seen around for awhile are appearing in the almost deserted streets of New York and Paris, but does this mean our climate is now okay and we won’t have to worry about that any more? I doubt it! However, Roy’s words in the following quotation show us that there is an opportunity being offered to our world by the pandemic which I would like to share with you:
“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It’s a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcusses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And be ready to fight for it.”
“I am so excited!” Seems strange to be writing this when there is so much despair in our world at this time. Probably the first thing that will come to any reader’s mind would be “What on earth has she got to be excited about?”
This unexpected feeling hit me when I tuned into my favourite radio station, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, more commonly known as the CBC. What caught my interest was an interview with small business owners across the country who are moving their companies forward using their ability to take the tools that they already have and apply them in a manner that can produce a new product that will be helpful in our war with the Coronavirus.