The Giving and Taking


“The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.”

Emerson believed that, but most Nova Scotians would disagree. Here, all life begins and ends with the sea.

But our relationship is uneasy. The North Atlantic gives and takes. The rough seas that delight sailors and windsurfers in summer — raised a notch in winter — send fishermen scrambling for prayer books. When life’s pressures converge, the Atlantic’s infinite majesty is my soothing balm. But watching those same waves pounding the shore, I also feel uncomfortably humble.

The ocean is our alpha and omega. In spirit, if not fact, Nova Scotia is an island — attached to Canada by a slender isthmus. We share 6,000 miles of undulating coastline. No one lives more than 50 miles from the sea, and most can walk there easily.

Shaped by wind and saltwater, Bluenosers are hearty and friendly, with a profound respect for culture and tradition that inspires song and ceremony. Just don’t be surprised if the music brings smiles and tears.

Life in this, my promised land, will always be bittersweet.




This entry was posted in Life, Nova Scotia. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

One Response to The Giving and Taking

  1. Kim says:

    I miss the ocean every day — strange, because I grew up in the Valley and it was never a factor of my daily life, and the idea of going out on it in a boat terrifies me — I can get seasick watching film of boats moving up and down in a swell. But I feel the tides in my bones, the rise and fall, the back and forth. It’s a rhythm I feel when I’m kneading bread, and scritching the cat and I see it that rhythm in my writing too, sometimes, the pull, the draw, the rise and the crash of waves on the shore. Ontario’s lakes are magnificent, but they’re no ocean.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.