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.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January light

The day dawns cold, in a pale wash of high sky with undertones of pink. The island is glass covered: a layer of ice that shatters beneath your step. The whole island, seen from a distance today, would look like a zillion carat diamond displayed on the Tiffany blue velvet of the harbour’s water.

I take a short trip down to the shore to get some sea water for the lobsters who have dropped in unexpectedly for dinner. They should have a happy afternoon, swimming around in our old lobster pot, not knowing it’s a lobster pot, thinking instead, perhaps, that it’s a very small sea.

But at the water’s edge a deep winter silence settles around me. There are no waves today, but the tide ebbs and flows in quiet currents over the rocks. The water is so clear that I can see the bottom of the cove here, as it declines from the shore, at first in inches, and gradually out to a depth of a foot or so before it’s lost in darkness. Gold ribbons of refracted sunlight illuminate an underwater world growing on submerged rocks. Forests of seaweed loom over limpet villages and moss meadows, all haloed with the rhythmic touch of streaming light. The cove is so quiet that I hear a susurration of ebbing water as it streams through the seaweed, like a long, slow breathing, like a song.

Small air balloons in the seaweed buoy its tendrils on the surface and allow it to float effortlessly in the sunlight. So it remains securely anchored to the rocks below yet fans out above to receive sun’s warm blessing. Its underwater tangle of gently waving branches harbours a myriad of tiny hidden creatures: egg sacs and miniscule baby lobsters, fish larvae, periwinkles. Maybe it’s their singing I hear on the ebb tide.

In the cove a loon surfaces, floats, calls, then dives. He swims beneath the surface, searching for his dinner, inhabitant of a mysterious world I can only glimpse. If I were to journey out along the length of the dock I could see the underwater cove more deeply, but instead I’m rooted here, standing on a rock, watching and listening for all I’m worth, held fast as heaven touches the sea, this shallow angle as much as I can take in, like all mortals who must shade their eyes in the presence of something holy.

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