The Cove Journal
by JoDee Samuelson
We take an evening walk along the shore, on the ice, still bright out, one week left till the Spring Equinox. The ice cracks below our feet: should we be walking here? “It’s low tide. We’ll only fall a few feet.” Ahead there is an open area where springs have melted the ice. We’ll give that a wide berth.
A large flock of geese flies overhead, the largest we’ve seen, each bird driven on by a force it cannot resist. In No Great Mischief Alistair MacLean writes (p. 260):
“When the Canada geese fly north in spring, there is a leader who points the way, a leader at the apex of the V as the formation moves across the land. Those who follow must believe that the leader is doing the best he can, but there is no guarantee that all journeys will end in salvation for everyone involved.”
How disappointed these geese must be to find the Island still snow-covered. Quite a bit of grumbling going on about the leader’s instincts this time. “It’s the same old story, we’ll have to make do with soybeans (ugh, hate ‘em), wet oats and frozen potatoes.”
Back on land I pass under a spruce tree, and an eagle flies out—right over my head. “Quick, look!” It all happens so quickly and I am walking eyes to the ground, so I miss everything, don’t even catch a glimpse of the eagle. Still, I feel very special and tell myself that I heard its wings.
A beech leaf is on the ground, then another. Have the beech trees actually dropped their leaves? All winter long the beech leaves shiver and rattle but remain firmly attached to their twigs. It seems impossible that beech trees were once the primary species in our hardwood forests, ours are so damaged and full of parasites. It must have been spectacular to see a beech forest in winter, full of golden brown leaves dancing and visiting together.
When we returned from Halifax last week we crossed the Cobequid Pass, something like crossing the Great Divide with different seasons on either side. Dry on the Halifax side, snowing on the PEI side. Whatever the weather, it’s a glorious view. What a world we live in. Always something to look forward to: picnics, crocuses, lobster season, smelts, more eagles flying over my head… summer visitors have started writing ahead to warn us of their intentions.
Meanwhile, piles of dirty snow like dead sheep lie in mounds along the roadside. Cars park on the side of the road because driveways are quagmires. The culvert is blocked with ice and the water sits harmlessly enough in a pond beside the road. No doubt we’ll get rain and then see what happens. The geese have settled on the field behind us and do not seem to be blaming their leader, as far as I can tell. The ice at the shore is breaking up. Spring is here.