Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Refuge of the Roads

I think I may have developed some wanderlust. After four weeks sleeping every night in St. John’s, I started to get antsy. And so I rented a car and headed off in search of adventure and beauty and whatever it is that people search for.

I drove up the Bonavista peninsula and down the Burin peninsula, and found lighthouses and fabulous stories of lighthouse keeping at the tips of both,*

And even made it all the way to France (the French colony of Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, only an hour’s ferry ride away from the tip of the Burin peninsula).

There were icebergs, rocky cliffs, sunsets, and fishing boats – sometimes all at the same time.

I saw living coastal cultures that blend the old and the new - old fishing stages in the same harbours as modern fish processing plants, a traditional Catholic ceremony blessing a modern seagoing fleet, the Bonavista harbour with a replica of John Cabot's 15th-century caravel that sailed to Newfoundland alongside today's fishing boats.

And after ten days of wandering, I’m back in St. John’s. I have one last week here to tie up loose ends and begin to put together some of the pieces of this year (and hopefully also write more here about what I’ve seen and done…) before setting off on the final homeward journey in this year of journeying.

*Newfoundland still has fifty-two manned lightstations, and I met two real-life lighthouse keepers!
They were painting the lightstation and showed me their office, complete with computer and desk, not so romantic as my image of a lighthouse keeper. But – both of them used to work at another lighthouse nearby, where they stayed alone on the island for twenty-eight days at a time. The dream still lives…

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