A total of 26 trips in 100 days through four countries in 2010.
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When one arrives in Nova Scotia they enter the spellbinding zone of tidal time. On this Canadian province Mother Nature takes charge with clocklike precision, her tides ebb predictably and massively.
In fact, the miraculous shift of water in Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy is the highest in the world. Twice a day 115 billion tons of water move in and out causing a rise and fall of 20, 30, often 40 feet. During a full moon and high winds, Bay of Fundy tides rise as high as fifty feet as if to emphasize the smallness of man relative to nature.
Upon arrival, I was greeted with beguiling moonlight and the seductive sloshing of waves lulling me to sleep as they broke near my door. The fullness of the beach emerged with morning’s low tide, reminding me of the regularity of the universe: spring follows winter, rain falls, the sun rises.
If you head in the direction of famed Peggy’s Cove, a tiny fishing village known for its iconic lighthouse, you pass Indian Harbour where the sprawling Oceanstone Inn dons the landscape. Seven maritime cottages pepper the estate creating a private, romantic retreat, one of simple, rustic splendor and homey comforts. You kick-off your shoes and feel at ease, time slows and distractions fade. Nature’s vibes seep through my toes and feet.
Owners Ron and Carole Ron MacInnis manage the establishment with a benevolent spirit. They welcome each guest as family and coax them to relax and enjoy the glorious gardens and magical coast. Ron, the resident Thoreau, is a peaceful environmentalist concerned with discovering life’s spiritual needs. He’ll quote a line of poetry to make a point in the most charming way. Carole, on the other hand, darts about the grounds like a fire-fly. She is Goldilocks delivering baskets of breakfast goodies or offering help whenever needed.
I decided to venture along the property’s shoreline, negotiating a challenging, tiered mound of rocks. A torrent of random thoughts entered my head: be strong and tenacious, withstand the gusty storms just like these stones. But at the same time, be free to wander akin to the pebble I tossed in the ocean. I picked up another and rubbed my fingers along its smooth worn edges, perhaps a reminder to soften my own. Then, I simply sat, breathed, absorbed the sun’s warmth and began to feel radiant.
Next morning, I awoke before sunrise and slipped out on the upper deck of my two-story cabin, the Crow’s Nest. I stared to my right at the stalwart beacon of a tiny dilapidated light station. Paddy’s Head Lighthouse shined brightly within the vibrant, planetarium-clear night sky. I tiptoed down the cottage stairs to a small kitchen and brewed morning coffee. Sinking into a dreamlike stupor, I surrendered and relished the nothingness of the moment.
At dawn, my group and I departed to photograph the famous red and white lighthouse of Peggy’s Cove. Ghostly filaments of mist gradually evaporated as lavender skies awakened the coast. We carefully crossed over massive granite slabs; their elemental strength bespeaking ancient age. The Cove thrives as a stopping place for tourists, the most photographed destination in Canada, but also offers a pause for inward reflection. I listened and heard the repetitive beating of my heart as it matched the rhythm of the sea.
The wonderment of a new day emerged with gulls flying and squawking a cheery greeting. The treacherous taunts of the Atlantic turned more playful, frolicking and shooting salty spray over the gray behemoth boulders, only to retreat with a whimper. Again, I aligned with the ebb and flow of the tides.
Nova Scotia is home to some fabulous fishing and luscious lobster beckons as a decadent treat. After indulging in the savory crustacean, I practically dove onto a bed of yellow-green kelp to capture a picturesque shot. As kelp sustains sea life, I found it nourished my soul.
I returned to the lighthouse in the late afternoon and eyed purple hues and shades of mauve glittering off the water. They danced a sensuous bolero that I longed to join. The wind’s chill bore down on my skin stealing my concentration and resisting my attempts to stay warm.
Suddenly, low angled rays hit the windows of a small house reflecting a fiery golden glow. The scene looked so hauntingly dramatic and surreal. Was I actually in such a mystical place?
Eventually the sun set and an ancient Celtic ballad rose in the air sounding like a bagpiper’s lament. It’s been said there are thin places where the dividing line between the spiritual and ordinary come closer. Indeed, Nova Scotia is such a place and I lingered betwixt and between.
If you go: Oceanstone Inn and Cottages