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.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Silent season

Each day here gives us something deeper than the day before. The silence that surrounds us today is deeper than yesterday's, and tomorrow's may well be deeper yet. It is not only that we have no visitors and no phone calls. It is not only that bit by bit we have journeyed away from what passes for television evening news and no longer bother to pick up videos in town.

One day this week as soon as Greg came in from chopping wood the snow turned to freezing rain and glittering panes of ice slicked the back windows. Everything outside was glazed -- stones, branches, the indented prints of deer hooves in snow. Even the harbour water looked still as ice, until a northeast wind blew it away from the cove in graceful sheets.

I read an old newspaper article about why there are so many Buddhists in Nova Scotia. I have my own half-formed ideas, something about the way the province lies out here on the very edge of North America, something about the way its every boundary is washed by salt waves, something about its interior forest, its silence.

But the article said it was the weather. A Tibetan teacher urged his students to move to Nova Scotia many years ago because the weather here -- so dramatic and changeable -- would keep them on their toes, awake to the forces of the world. 

Each day's gifts are unexpected, as small as a spot of orange lichen on a grey rock, as quick as the midnight moon glimpsed through rushing clouds. We are learning to look for gifts that will tumble upon us all day even though we do not know what they will be. Every day, out here where nothing ever happens, we are a little bit more awake to the world than we were the day before.

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