Growing up in the Fog

The fog over the cemetery in New Harbour.

A few days ago, I read an opinion piece in the Chronicle Herald called –We are where we live: the cold makes us resilient. 

I feel like I could have written this.  I’ve been saying for years that growing up on the shores of Guysborough County is why I feel like I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.  I love being in New Harbour, but when I lived there sometimes the fog and drizzle could get a little overwhelming.  When I think about the first settlers in New Harbour, I wonder how they made it those first few springs.  Hard, rocky soil.  Constant fog.  Mildew because nothing can easily dry out. And those large, lonely rocks.  Even the forage-able food is resilient: Foxberries, dulse, fish, Labrador Tea, small game & fowl.  Really not much vegetation other than moss and scraggly spruce.  The primary industries are seasonal: fishing, forestry, and paving potholes.  Yet, we still survived.

When Bob and I got married, it was important to me for our friends and his family to be there in New Harbour – to understand where I grew up, because I knew it made me different.  I just didn’t understand how.  New Harbour did not disappoint on the weekend of our wedding.  A wicked downpour moved the rehearsal dinner from outside to inside.  The rain continued overnight, washing out a road and filling the large pot holes with rain.  The fog hung heavy in the morning, and it was so cold.  With such heavy humidity, the 130 hand-rolled, fondant roses my sisters and I had made for my wedding cake were drooping, and the fondant on the cake itself, was sweating profusely.  So much for the beautiful cake I had dreamed of.  At least it still tasted good!  Despite the nasty roads, crazy weather and drooping cake, we had a great time.  There was no other choice.  The weather was what it was.  I wasn’t going to reschedule the wedding of my dreams for a hurricane! That’s just the way it goes in the Maritimes.

It’s also how I know that as a church, we’re going to be ok.  Even if the regions aren’t exactly as we’d make them.  Even if the regions are staffed not quite the way we’d do it.  That goes for congregations too.  We’re Maritimers.  We do what we’ve got to do.  Fog, wind and rain or a beautiful sunny day.  In fact, we’re more apt to do it on the rainy day and save a vacation day for the rare sunny one.

The same is true for Nova Scotia.  Yeah, there might be fewer jobs here, and yeah there might be more senior citizens than working aged folks and children combined, but we’re people of the fog.  We do what we’ve got to do, be it looking after neighbouring seniors, who’s children are living out West or laughing at the idea of a million dollar home.  We don’t want that non-sense…that’s just a larger area to scrub mildew from.  I don’t have time for that!  We’ll be ok as long as we keep working together, we’ll come up with a solution to cross the next large pothole in life.  If you can keep your family alive, living on a rock in the fog and eating salt fish and potatoes, you can do anything.  After all, the fish didn’t come out of the ocean salted.  It took a resilient (or maybe desperate) person to think that one up.  We might not have the same problems we once did, but we still live on rocks in the fog.  We’ll think of something.

Chronicle Herald Opinions: We are where we live: the cold makes us resilient