July 17, 2008

Goodbye PEI

Tomorrow we leave Prince Edward Island for Nova Scotia and we are sad about it. Our trip here has had magical qualities that only an island can provide.

PEI is defined by the wind, the sea, the land and the people. The wind blows sometimes harshly and sometimes delicately. It carries the sea on its breath. The land of red earth drew the French, the Irish and the English. They farm, they fish and they live close to the land and the water.

Many of our nights here we have spent in provincial or national parks right on the water. Nova Scotia is dimly on the horizon as I write. I have felt part of all of PEI while here. I have been out in the wind, in the ocean, in the red sand. I have driven through the cultivated fields, alongside the gathering of Irish moss and through the fishing villages. I have eaten the produce and spoken to some of the friendly folk. I have listened to their maritime music formed by their ethnic heritage. I purchased from its artisans.

The island is mostly open spaces. It is basically flat and the sea is never too far away. I am carrying away certain images:

Small, tidy homes with large front yards filled with flower gardens,

Music with fiddle, guitar, mouth harp, accordion and foot stomping,

Fields of potatoes with small white blossoms now in bloom,

The striking yellow of acres of canola,

The green of the hay fields rolling to the sea,

The blue, gray, brown, red and green of the water in different weather,

Lobster pots piled high in side yards,

The red sand of the beaches and cliffs,

The green of Anne of Green Gables which is celebrated throughout the island, and

The gulp of salt water taste of my first ever oyster.

They call PEI “the gentle island.” I have been “gentled” and I am thankful for it.

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