Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Car Trip (07/18/05)
TITLE: Mostly Nova Scotia
By Helga Doermer
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June 25. We have just returned from a lobster feast in the quaint restaurant next door. I am now tucked into a charming little alcove adjacent to our hotel room. My eyes light on the bouquet of pale pink silk roses resting on a dainty white doily of crocheted cotton. Around the doily, the satin finished maple wood of the tiny desk gleams in the last light. Sitting on the matching chair, I raise my eyes to the large arched window. It is lightly dressed in a white lace curtain and frames clusters of daisies and clover on the near edge of a freshly manicured lawn. On the far edge, shrubbery and low trees hide the high tide of the Bay of Fundy. Earlier today we followed the narrow twisting path of fragrant flora that descended to the Hopewell Flower Pots. The tide was already rolling in. We hope to visit them at low tide tomorrow.
June 26. I awaken to a delicate mist. The sun is warm and the wind off the water fresh and clean
June 27. This morning we dined in a restaurant that laid claim to being the Oldest in Canada – 150 years old. My delight was in their nutty raisin bran muffins.
We stopped at St. Andrews by the Sea. The second floor balcony of our hotel room looked out over the Bay of Fundy. We dined on seafood at the restaurant next door. Our picnic table stood on a raised, stationary dock like structure, practically sitting out over the water. After dinner we strolled along Water Street, which is lined with quaint buildings housing tiny shops.
June 28. P.E.I was a disappointment. It was flat, expensive and dingy. I had hoped Nova Scotia would be better. Our first taste of it wasn’t inspiring. We stayed in a dismal motel, stuck on an unkempt piece of property between the water and the highway, in Cheticamp. Walking meant taking our life in our hands as there wasn’t even a highway shoulder for a buffer zone. Yet in this miserable place, there was one unexpected note of beauty.
On our precarious walk, we came across an old Cathedral, built in 1893. The sun was low in the sky as we approached. We stepped through the open doors into an ornate sanctuary. Walking the center aisle, we admired its magnificence. Silence permeated the majestic room. As I turned to leave, an awesome sight caught me unawares. The sun, resting on the horizon before its final descent, was perfectly centered in the open doorway. Its golden rays streamed along the length of the floor to the base of the alter.
June 29. It was a clear day, our first opportunity to catch a whale watching tour. Our first sighting was a lone sleek black whale. Our guide remarked that they are twenty to thirty feet long (considered small) and are related the porpoise. We came close enough to watch it sew the water – rise and dip - and listen to it breathing. Long hours later, a dozen whales swam towards us. Their glossy black bodies moved with the graceful undulating rhythm of waves. When they came alongside and slipped under the boat, we could hear and see them blowing a fine spray as they surfaced.
Switch backs meandered through the fertile foliage along the Cabot Trail. The view was spectacular where it overlooked low valleys, winding rivers, luxuriant mountains and the deep blue waters along the coastline of the ocean.
June 30. We traveled a narrow ribbon of grey highway stretching through endless rolling hills of verdant greening in the interior of Nova Scotia. It surprised me to see such a vast uninhabited region, as it appeared to be exceptionally inviting. The serene countryside evoked a yearning to stop and nest. I could have stayed there forever, rather than have gone back to Moncton. But Moncton was our intended destination and we traveled on.
Somewhere within my writings, is a note to myself to hang on to all the maps and tourist information we collected on our road trip. Yet at the trip’s end, the maps and pamphlets on tourist attractions meant little to me. They could not evoke the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures the same way as my ragged images, for they do not hold the imprint of my own experience.
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