Dear Nova Scotia,
I trust this letter finds you well. I trust that the tide is tiptoeing up to bake on your shores, and that the wind is coming in off the Atlantic, rekindling it's summer fling with the grass in the dunes.
If this was a normal year, I’d be seeing you soon. I would be reaching into closets and pulling out bags to fill with bathing suits and books I’ve been meaning to read. I’d be talking with the kids about returning to the places we know, and wondering together about which ones we might discover this summer. I’d be eavesdropping in on their plans to keep building a fort made with driftwood the summer before. (There would be no debating whether it survived the winter. They`d built it to withstand the ice and snow.)
Right around now I’d be sitting in the passenger seat, looking at the GPS on the dash. We know the way by heart and didn't need a map, but I like the optimism of an ETA. Our arrival time would creep later and later with every stop to eat, or gas up the car, or for yet another bathroom break because “I didn’t have to GO then”. But still. The ETA felt like a dangling carrot — the promise of a prize to those who keep going.
We’d move past tall buildings and highway lanes thick with cars, and crawl through construction zones where neon vested workers held up signs that read like a mantra.
We would find the river and follow her bends, away from the structure of schedules. We'd trade our ticking, time-tracking clocks for afternoon shadows, like arrows pointing east. The road would get quiet in apologetic reverence, moving us through the stolen forests on Mi’kmaq land that it claims as its own. We'd see bits of blue through the trees and roll down our windows. We'd hear the waves, smell the sea and taste it's salty air. Each of our senses confirmed that we had arrived.
Normally, our early August mornings began with the sounds of seagulls and impatient children. “Hurry up!” “Where’s my other flip flop?” “LETS GO!!” There would be negotiations about coffee and sunscreen, and then hours spent running across sandbars and exploring tidal pools. We`d bring shovels and pails to build castles for hermit crabs, with seashells as their thrones. We’d hunt for treasure, finding jewel coloured talismans —impossibly smooth pieces of glass that held secrets from another time.
Afternoons were for things like reading and walks to get ice cream from Ms. Darlene’s beach canteen. Or maybe we’d find a trail that wound through the woods to reveal hidden waterfalls or to cliffs so high that the birds looked surprised to see us. We might spot a mama moose and her calf through the trees, or climb up to lookouts with views of a place that’s as close to heaven as I’ve ever been.
Evenings would be filled with music and laughter. Fiddles and old pianos told stories in songs, with toe tapping steps keeping time. There would be seafood and fellowship, and friends made of strangers, then walks on the beach with my family at dusk. I’d hang back, listening to my kids laughing and playing with their dad, chasing each other in the pinks and purples of a post-sunset sky. I’d think about how lucky we were. How lucky we are.
I wish I could say that I’ll see you soon. I wish there was magic that would stop all the scary —a trick that could right this world, like a ship in a storm. I wish there were bubbles the size of our country that could keep us safe, but together.
But for now, Nova Scotia, I trust that you`re well. I trust that your people are resilient and strong. That their commitment to kindness and community will carry you, as it always has.
I trust that I`ll see you again.