The coloured stones and bonding concrete carry oral tradition in the Halls Harbour hood. The house, a depression era make work project reflects love of work and worker. The cement plant employees sustained by building the four cottages. For three early mornings I walked past the cottages wondering whether the story or the presence was more interesting. Like all hobbit hovels this one was lived in. The table was set with coffee cups!
Turning into Chapel Street we shared this unsourced anxiety. We had not seen Matt for over 30 years. Then between the thirty Maple trees we saw his shingle clad house. From a miniature door he emerged as we unfolded ourselves from the Westphalia. Matt and I stood and embraced each other for what may have appeared too long in any other circumstance. We dodged the doorway and settled comfortably into conversation as Matt poured coffee. We listened intently as he shared the details of the last half-year of Willy’s life. At the end of the story he cried. Here we were sitting in Canning sharing stories from the late sixties. Sharing our shared experience. I asked him how the painting was going and in the most finger wagging moment he looked at me and said, “I will start when I am ready…” Then he said let’s go look at the studio. He didn’t have keys, but was arranging to get some soon. We went for dinner and looking over the Annapolis Valley we bridged the years with conversation. Over years we shared festivals, peers, projects and hard work. Matt always the gentleman farmer. In the valley he has woven both his art and presence. There is probably room in our house somewhere for one more painting! One more story!
The sunset highlighted clouds were captured at the biggest beach fire I had ever seen. At the end of Pineo Road Sue and Mart welcomed us into their cottage. We spent three serene nights sleeping in a full sized bed and being served! We shared conversations about our children, their journeys and our need to let them go to grow. Now our children are in their thirties and forties so if you thought this parenting stuff was over anytime soon — surprise! We walked, ate, wandered and talked sharing coffee and story. On Sunday after church we stopped by the house that their son, Michael and his partner Laura built. The house was a lovingly sculpted specimen and the gardens a flash back to the sixties. The photograph captures the Westphalia in an appropriate setting. Our inner hippie coming out. The problem with those of us who survived the sixties is that we too have accelerated our demands. As someone shared at the recovery meeting we want life to go on forever. The simple truth is that our dreams, our friends, our ambitions and our living all come to the same end. This morning we will once more put some gas in the Van and continue the journey savouring every memory evoking and making connection.