by JoDee Samuelson
Local folklore has it that when you can see The Other Side clearly, it’s going to rain, which must be because the air pressure is falling and there are fewer molecules of dust and moisture over the water to impede your view. At those times Nova Scotia looks close enough to reach out and touch, and it’s easy to imagine our earliest people making the trip across the Strait in their delicate crafts, no problem.
From the edge of the Cove, the other side is a strip of soft blue that beckons enticingly. Funny thing: when you go across the bridge and look back at the Island, our own strip of land is bathed in the same gentle light. It seems that the grass isn’t actually greener on the other side of the fence (or in this case the Strait): it’s merely remote. That tantalizing remoteness is so powerful that once again we make our way over to the campground at Amherst Shore.
The first night a quiet duo from Québec is nestled down in the next campsite. In the morning they pack up their little orange tent and head on their way. A few hours later an SUV pulling a utility trailer rolls in, and a mom and dad and three children proceed to colonize the area. Cheerfully but noisily. Two enormous tents (one for sleeping and one for the table) are laboriously set up, and a huge tarp is strung up over the space between the two tents. I never thought I would see anyone bring an extension ladder to a campground, but that tarp needs a long rope tied up high in a tree so along comes Dad with his ladder. “No help needed, just leave me alone.” Impressive by any standards.
A campground is an intimate window into life. People party enthusiastically into the night. Voices carry. Tempers boil over. Children scream, laugh, run, tumble, and are encouraged or reprimanded as the case may be. Small children share their parent’s toilet stall and discuss every detail of the proceedings. A campground is not for everyone and sometimes a little goes a long ways.
The next morning it’s raining so we throw everything in the car and head home. Has the Island ever had so many summer visitors? The traffic on the bridge is non-stop both ways. Some guests of ours insisted we go to Cavendish last month and I must say the North Shore is a world away from our own Cove reality. Where are all these people coming from?
It’s good to be back. Our roadsides overflow with Queen Anne’s lace and Black-eyed Susans, and the potatoes march in straight lines to the horizon. Being away for even two days makes me appreciate the beauty of this place. Now that all our guests have departed, there is the garden to rediscover, the grass to mow and the friends to visit.
But that strip of soft blue on the horizon still beckons, and we’re already talking about another trip to The Other Side.