A View From The Ridge
By Cheryl Gallant
A couple of days after our arrival in Cape Breton, we made the trek along the scenic highway that clings to the shores of the Bras D’Or Lakes to deliver our friend John to the Sydney airport. I remember clinging to him, just like those lakes to the shore, holding on to the warmth and comfort of a familiar friendship. Tears brimmed as I watched him melting away into the small crowd to board his flight. I turned to my husband, his own eyes bright with emotion. “Here we go!” I said. “The adventure begins.”
The cupboards in our new home were unsurprisingly bare. We had little to no space in our jam-packed vehicles to bring any amount of food, save the sandwiches and lemon loaf that would sustain us on our journey. We stopped at the grocery store in the small village closest to us, about 18 km from our wee farm in the woods. I noticed surprised looks from locals shopping in the store, unaccustomed as they were to seeing unfamiliar faces among them in the tourism off-season. As we cashed out our groceries in awkward silence, I couldn’t help but notice the jovial banter at the next checkout, and it gave my heart a twinge to realize that we were simply ‘folks from away,’ not yet anyone’s friend, anyone’s neighbour. Apart, not a part.
A lingering sadness invaded my heart as we drove along the unknown, long, winding road toward the home that waited for us like an unopened gift. The drive seemed interminable, and my spirits sagged lower and lower.
As we trudged toward the house, weighted down by both our thoughts and the bags of groceries, we spotted a basket on the tiny back porch. It overflowed with turnips, potatoes, carrots and beets. A simple gesture of welcome to let us know we were home.
We had barely gotten our bounty unpacked when there was a knock at our door.
But that’s another story.