There are a few things I want to mention, so pay attention for a moment.
There are places in this province, in the height of August, where you can make your way down a great long bank from an ATV trail and find yourself on the edge of a peat-brown river, just where it throws itself over the edge of a falls and carves a deep pool beneath.
You can feel the mist of falls cold on your face, and if you take off every stitch of clothing and swim across that pool, you’ll feel yourself buoyed by the thousands of waterfall-bubbles entrained in the water, buoyed by the feeling of each one of those bubbles clinging and holding momentarily onto every single hair on your body.
And not one other person will struggle their way down the hillside the whole time you’re there, and you can dry yourself with your shirt, and feel your skin tug against your damp clothes when you finally choose to come out, and that pull, that pull of fabric against the goose-bumped surface of your skin is a feeling so unique that it can be compared to no known thing.
There are places in this province where you can pitch a kayak into the ocean, into the, yes, warm and inviting ocean, and glide above water as clear as glass while great schools of conners swim underneath you like inverse mobiles, cutting and turning back on themselves and hanging from their invisible strings, and the water can be warmer than the air.
Yes, it exists
Want to find that place, Atlantic-dwellers? Sounds like fiction written about water that barely climbs above seven degrees? Here’s a hint: it’s on this island, and I will tell you it is on the edge of a town where sour cherries grow on the side of the road and there are so many that people just ignore them, a town just below the country’s oldest rocks. The people who live there know just what I mean, and one day, I might live there, too.
You can scoot across the mirror-glass bay and cut sharp into sea caves, hear the bogwater dripping into the ocean from high above in 16,000 different fractional notes, and the song will nag at you as you hear it, and, at the same time, it will prove to be impossible to ever reproduce.
And I have walked along a hundred rivers and streams here if I have walked along even one, and I can tell you that the number of times that I have met a single other unexpected person can be counted on just seven of my fingers — and that I have seen scores of places where a photograph, however panoramic, can be examined mere days after the real event, and be found completely wanting.
Each one of those rivers has brought new curves, new falls,
new challenges and new flowers that I could not have even imagined before I saw them — and though
I hate the damage we have done,
the careless spoils we have made of this place, there are still scores of places where you can walk and wonder if another human foot has ever touched down in that same spot.
And even the bad can be good: Sunday night, a storm ripped through the Avalon with winds that other provinces would find terrifying and destructive, yet we find it good for setting a birch fire in the fireplace, and listening to the February rain race along in its bucket brigades.
These are places I wanted to mention, to be sure that you knew they were there — to be sure that you took the time to find them for yourself.
Why mention them?
Because there are a few things that we may never, ever see again.
We are more than lucky to have them in this big and open province: revel in what we have, because there is no clear marker to show you the very last day that you will. I will take those places with me forever, wherever I am.
Keep this place safe: there is truly no place like it. We are blessed.
Russell Wangersky is The Telegram’s
editorial page editor. He can be reached