Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Nova Scotia Farewells

So long anticipated, so soon over. Long-distance pedaling pals Mary and Mike are back on the road again after a four-day stay with us at Big Bras d’Or. They departed for Newfoundland Saturday morning after four days resting the saddle sores. The third of the 3M transcontinental cyclists, Mark, departed a day earlier. On the one fair weather day nature provided during their stay we gave the hiking muscles a small workout, tramping from Lighthouse Point in Louisbourg national park to Western Head.

Saturday featured another sort of departure. We laid the ashes of my cousin Ted in the family plot at St. James cemetery. That farewell featured a reading of Yeats’s Lake Isle of Innisfree and some lines from Burns’s Tam O’Shanter. The family’s less-than-perfect arrangement of Danny Boy was offset by a fine rendering of Flowers of the Forest from young piper Michael MacMillan.

Four kinfolk braved the lousy weather with us over the long weekend – sister Kathleen, bro-in-law Jon, nephew Michael and his bride Alice. At times we defied the bad weather and went looking for orchids at Big Harbour, Frenchvale and Petersfield Park. The later stop delivered our quarry, the lovely Helleborine, Epipactis helleborine.

In the absence of the real sun over so many days we take comfort from the little ‘stored sunshine’ afforded by our essential, cherished Drolet woodstove. That and an occasional wee dram of scotch mist keep the drears at bay.


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