Bits and bobs

Random thoughts about random things by a random person


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The ocean – the ultimate battery charger!

My ocean view, growing up in St. Lawrence, NL

I grew up in a small town on the southeast coast of Newfoundland, a beautiful, rugged island jutting out into the North Atlantic. The ocean was a very strong presence in my youth and it has stayed with me throughout my life, even though most of my adult life has been spent away from in.

It is no surprise, then, when I say that my favourite place to recharge is by the ocean. I’m not a total snob about it – any body of water will do in a pinch, but the ocean is where it’s really at for me.

I spent almost 14 years living in Calgary, Alberta, on Canada’s prairies, about 40 minutes from the Canadian Rockies. People I knew who had grown up there got the same thing from going to the mountains. Others, who had grown up further east, fully on the prairies, got it from the vast openness of the horizon that they offered.

After having lived there for so long, I can understand both perspectives. There is something truly majestic about being in the mountains. Taking the gondola up Sulphur Mountain in Banff gives you a view and perspective that you can only get in the mountains.

I also really valued the open expanse of the prairies. There are lots of jokes about it – your dog runs away and you can see him for days and so on. Obviously, that’s not how it is, but it sure can seem like it – horizon and sky for days! It, too, offers a perspective on our place in the universe that can’t be achieved the same way in the mountains or by the ocean.

One of the things I miss the most about living on the prairies is being able to watch a storm from miles away as it crawls along the landscape – a curtain of snow or rain, or even just wind and dust, moving along the horizon like a separate living thing in and of itself. It’s truly beautiful.

Yet still, for me, it’s the ocean. I love the smell of it, the sound of it, the look of it. Standing on Signal Hill or at Cape Spear, facing east and seeing nothing but the vast expanse of blue (or steely grey on a cloudy day), knowing there’s nothing between you and Ireland except the rolling deep, gives another perspective of how we fit into this world.

You can even almost feel the pull of the swells. Even when it looks flat and calm, you know that beneath the surface there are currents constantly moving, moving, moving. The iiiiiin-out, iiiiiin-out, iiiiiin-out push and pull of the waves is hypnotic.

It was a similar feeling when I stood at Point Loma in San Diego and faced west out over the Pacific Ocean.

But it wasn’t quite the same because it wasn’t “my” ocean. The Atlantic is where my heart is, so yeah, I do play favourites. 🙂

Here are some other favourite ocean places and pics for your perusal.

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From Cowtown to Fog City

This post is a follow-up to an earlier post, So glad I said yes. If you haven’t read it, you might want to as it provides some context for this post, but you don’t have to.

Today’s post is to share with you some photos of my road trip across the continent when I moved from Calgary, Alberta back to St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador with my dear ol’ Dad. Calgary is Cowtown, as it it sometimes affectionately referred to, and St. John’s is Fog City because of a restaurant there took that name in homage (or perhaps to spite?) a regular feature of the climate.

Without further ado…let’s get this show started!

First up…the map!

Caveat: The map isn’t 100% accurate. Unfortunately, even though I adjusted the map to more closely represent the route we took, it didn’t save any of the changes. While it isn’t our actual route, it will help you to see the scale of this trip.

Next, some pictures from Dad’s arrival in Calgary to our two-night lay-over in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where a couple of friends of mine, Rob and Chris, were wonderful hosts. I had been a couple of times before so for this visit they went out of their way to make sure there would be things Dad would enjoy. And he did. There were so many parts of the prairies that he loved. He had never seen such massive, oceanic farm fields before and if I had a dollar for every time he said, “Look at the wheat! That’s wheat! Look at it!” I’d be able to retire. It was so much fun to see a 71-year-old man look at things with the wonder of a child – something we all need to do more often.

 

Next up, our stop in Ottawa and a snippet of upstate New York. We took advantage of the chance to visit with one of my brothers and his girlfriend on Ottawa. (Another brother who lives there was away at the time…I can’t remember why.) From Ottawa, we headed south to the States – into upstate New York, where we spent the night in Canton, NY. We drove over Lake Champlain into Vermont and then to New Hampshire, where we spent another night.

 

The final leg of our journey saw us in Bar Harbor, Maine. At the time, there was a ferry from there to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia so that’s why we were there. It’s a beautiful place in its own right, though, so I recommend visiting if you get the chance. We stopped overnight in the Halifax/Dartmouth area and visited with a couple of my best friends from high school. From there we headed to North Sydney to catch the ferry that would take us to Argentia, NL, which would leave us with only one and a half hours of driving till home sweet home!

 

While the trip is technically over by this point, it wouldn’t be right not to include a picture of Dad proudly displaying his catch of salted cod, drying on the line. 🙂

2007-09-18_Drying fish 5 - Dad and Mariette

Dad and my sister-in-law admiring some cod he had caught and salted, as part of the food fishery. Paradise, NL. (There has been a moratorium on commercial fishing of cod since 1992.)