The Cove Journal
by JoDee Samuelson
It is the middle of March, and while open water beckons over the horizon, the land remains imprisoned by ice and snow. Three weeks ago we made a snow-woman down at the shore. She is still plump and bossy. Today is overcast and she does not need her sunglasses, but they look good on her, she thinks. Besides they’re frozen to her nose. Which is to say that she is cool with everything…unlike we humans who are fussing over yet another storm.
I have beside me a Farmer’s Almanac that says: “As a rule of thumb, plant potatoes before the vernal equinox. Harvest them before the summer solstice.” Maybe some place, but not PEI, not this year.
“Prune fruit trees from the time they are dormant until spring buds swell. Prune maple and birch trees after they leaf out.” In other words, get busy.
“Lupine, morning glory, and sweet pea seeds benefit from having their coats scratched before sowing.” That’s why our sweet peas never sprout. There’s so much I don’t know; but I’m going to keep learning. This year there will be fabulous blooms on trellises all around the yard, thanks to Farmer’s Almanac.
While waiting to prune our maple trees and scratch our sweet pea seeds, many of us have been seeking warmth and sunshine off-Island. I recently came back from Québec and Vermont…okay, neither place was warm or sunny, but they had different snow. And the mountains of Vermont—what can you say. They are genuine mountains. People pay $84 a day to ski down them. If you add on the cost of skis, boots, helmets and goggles, beer, burgers, bedrooms and BMWs, it’s clear that downhill skiing is a sport I can’t afford. However, my friends and I did snowshoe on a trail alongside a ski lift, eight hundred breathtaking vertical feet up and up, with a beer at the end: that much I can afford. A happy memory.
Which is to say, sunshine and warmth aren’t everything. On the other hand, there are a plenty of sun-browned people at the airport these days coming home from Jamaica, Mexico and Florida, looking mighty pleased with themselves as they hug waiting relatives, text their friends and check the weather on their iPads.
The very tanned woman I sat beside on the plane—she was wearing black and white flip-flops—was met at the Charlottetown Airport by a handsome man and a child. “My son,” she told me proudly, “and grandson.” Our bags had not yet arrived. By way of conversation I asked, “You have one grand-child?” “Heck no, I have twenty-five!”
Wow. Again I am reminded of how much I don’t know. You can’t tell anything about a traveler by the colour of her flip-flops, or anything about a snow-woman by her leopard-spotted sunglasses; but one thing’s for sure, you’ve got to admire their attitude.