Friday, July 6, 2012

Sunny Days in Old Cape Breton

Cape Breton embraced us with day after day of sun and blue sky. A year ago July necessitated almost daily use of the Drolet woodstove. So far in 2012 not a twig has had to be set alight.

The Whynachts came from Mahone Bay for the Canada Day weekend. All four are fun but Hannah and Sara, aged 9 and 6 respectively, were joy of the high-octane variety. Our gang of six invaded Fortress Louisbourg for one afternoon, the Alexander Graham Bell Museum for another. On Canada Day we built a campfire suitable for haut cuisine of the wieners-and-marshmallows school. A lobster feed for nine on Sunday preceded an off-Broadway production of The Three Little Pigs. The reviews positively glowed.

Even after 41 years Bigadore affords an infinite supply of entertainments. We relish our pre-breakfast walk around Dalem Lake. One day I dared try to keep pace with Naomi. We did the 6.6 km route in 63 minutes, at least ten minutes faster than our now-customary pace. A decade ago that might have been unexceptional but now, an old-age recipient, I felt like an old scow, plates buckling and rivets popping in every direction.

The wild things around us are reliably entertaining too. Daybreak features squirrels and blue jays dancing on the porch roof. The morning chorus of song features finches, sparrows, vireos and warblers: magnolia, parula, ovenbird, Blackburnian. I’d never before seen a pickerel frog at Bigadore, then one morning we had three all at once, on the road up by the well. Some denizens are missing in action: hares no longer munch grass in front of the cabin. Are burgeoning foxes to blame, or friend Gord Haggett’s 4.10 shotgun?

New-found Cousin Lori MacKinnon arrived Wednesday afternoon. Stopped in her tracks by the view of the Great Bras d’Or flanked by Kelly’s Mountain, she confessed herself guilty of a deadly sin: envy. We took a magical history tour to see the gravestone of common ancestors, the ruins of pioneer homesteads, and family homes still supplied with walls and roofs. Then we sat in the porch, savoring a Heineken or three.

It would have been memorable in any event but the day of Lori’s visit will be unforgettable for a reason altogether unrelated to genealogy or family history: at bedtime Lori texted us to report that Steve Nash had arranged to become an LA Laker. Steve Nash a member of the hated LA Lakers?! That will take some getting used to.

Tomorrow we are off with Lynn and Louise for a fortnight in Iceland. I expect that Norse sagas, geography, hiking, history, a smidgeon of Frank Fredrickson will keep us happily diverted for the whole time. The laptop will not be part of my carry-on stowage: I go incommunicado for the next two weeks. Enjoy the rest.

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