By the time you read most of the posts here, I’m a month or two down the road. That’s because I move along at a sprightly pace while my little twice-weekly blog takes the slow coach. The days stack up like a deck of cards, while time and wifi connections are harder to find.
By the time you get them, the experience is slightly stale; it’s lost the first blush of youth and vigor. I’m scouring my notes to remember what that character said and whether it was raining when he said it.
Not the best process, but I’m not sure how to improve it. Moving more slowly and having Internet access more often, for starters. That’d be cool.
For this post, however, you get up-to-the-minute freshness. Not because I’m witnessing anything so newsworthy, but because I’m at a metaphoric crossroads, and that’s always a tender moment.
Today, I’m in New Brunswick. I’m at the Bay of Fundy National Park, which I thought was a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but then I found out that the whole BAY is the UNESCO site–so designated for its rich aquatic life (many species of whale and various other creatures summer here) and for its unusual tides (highest in the world). Plus, the bottom of the bay is full of mud—thick, red mud (due to iron oxide), which is called “nutritious” because things like tiny shrimp live it it. It’s very heavy mud. Ask my shoes.
Apparently, we just missed the semipalmated sandpipers, millions of which pass through here on their way to their wintering ground in South America. They weigh about a quarter when they get here, and they feed ravenously on the tiny shrimp at low tide until they double their body weight–to a half-dollar. In between tides, they huddle together on the beach in tight groups, looking like “a feathery carpet.”
These are the same sandpipers that pass through Delaware Bay in New Jersey in the spring when the horseshoe crab comes ashore to lay its eggs.
I’d read about this phenomenon years ago, and I can’t believe I missed it here in New Brunswick by a couple of weeks.
* * *
The season is changing in New Brunswick. This, in itself, is cause for that pensive reflective mood that always accompanies autumn. I’ve tried to figure out why those first subtle changes in light, in the smell, in the foliage, trigger something like sweet melancholy. I think it may be due to those years when either I or my children were going back to school, but it could be about change in general. Or–maybe something more primeval happens in our primitive brains.
So, even though I’m in a coastal environment far from home, I can feel the season change.
Also, the trip is ending. In a couple days, I’ll be heading west again. Toward “home,” even though it’s more a home base and I have yet to move into it.
Julia will be moving even farther west to begin a new job at Yosemite National Park. (If you go to the information desk at the Evergreen Lodge and see a dark-haired girl looking bewildered, be sure to give her a little hassle. Tell her that her mother sent you.)
Yesterday, we walked to Alma, the village at the
bottom of the steps in the national park to sample the sticky buns. I’d heard about the sticky buns of Alma before I started the trip. Kelly’s Bake Shop opened in 1962 and is in its second generation of Kellys. On a good day, they sell 3,000 of the huge, gooey buns. No shortcuts for these buns–they’re real bread dough and not too sweet. (Maybe a skosh more salt.)
Last night, Julia and I, along with Anne, my former exchange student from Germany, walked into town again for a
“Last Supper” at the Boathouse Restaurant. We shared an enormous lobster bucket that left us satiated withfruit de mer (fruit of the sea)–scallops, shrimp, and a red, red lobster. Even the corn was sweet and tender.
In my next post, we’ll get back on the road through the Gaspe and the rest of the maritimes. The trip was fantastic, but in real time—it’s over.
Change is in the air.
Now, let’s get back on the road…