In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Shuttle in the wall

Sometime in the 1850s a fisherman built this house we live in, on McNutt's Island off the southwestern coast of Nova Scotia.  Only four families lived here over the next hundred and sixty years or so, and the house pretty much stayed the same all that time.  The living room walls were old plaster, but last summer we broke up the plaster and pulled out the lath.  Then we insulated and wired before we finished the walls again.  

When we tore out the plaster, we found a wooden shuttle hidden inside the wall directly above the front door.  It has the initials M.P. carved on it, so it must have belonged to Martha Perry, whose husband Jonathan and son William built the house.  Since the shuttle was inside the wall, it would have been forgotten after a while.   And then after that nobody even knew it was there, until we found it.

But long ago, in an ordinary act of daily life, a weaver sat at her loom and sent this very shuttle back and forth, weaving the horizontal weft threads through the vertical warp.  And so the hidden shuttle could have been Martha Perry’s way of bestowing a secret blessing on all who would pass through the front door. Maybe she hoped, as she tucked the shuttle inside the lath, that the lives threading in and out of this house over the decades would be somehow woven together.  

And it does seem that our lives have begun to weave into the lives of those who lived here before us: the long-ago toddler who died of scarlet fever in this house, and the young bride and her fisherman groom who were married near the door, and the boy who planted an oak tree for his mother in the front yard, and the woman who found a hard-fought peace here, whose ashes are spread in the apple grove. 

After we painted the living room we returned the shuttle to its place above the door. But now it hangs on the wall, a visible reminder that everything is connected, woven together: blessed, whether we know it or not.