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.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Island sounds

"Did you hear that?" Greg asked me. He looked alert, possibly alarmed. It was one of those sunny day back in April. We were eating lunch outside, at the picnic table. Greg often looks alert but hardly ever alarmed. So it caught my attention.  "Listen!" he said. "It sounds like a growl." But I couldn't hear anything like that.

We had been talking off and on about the possibility of a bobcat on the island. A couple of our neighbours said they had seen paw prints after the winter snows that belonged to some kind of cat. Could there be a bobcat lurking in the Skeleton Forest, just beyond that stone wall over there? The sunny day seemed shadowed by something ominous. Not that a bobcat would leap over the wall and attack us. It was just the notion that something potentially dangerous could be so near. But though we both listened, we didn't hear the sound again that day.

Then last week I was walking along the main road toward the government wharf when I heard growling, just like Greg had described it.  But now I could tell that the sound was coming from Indian Point. I made my way to the place where there is a little beaten path down from the road to the cove shore and looked toward Indian Point.  The tide was going out and six seals were balanced on their rocky resting places beyond the shore, talking to each other. It was their conversation that sounded like growling.  

Since the seals have probably been resting on those rocks for hundreds or even thousands of years, I can't imagine what they have left to talk about. The usual stuff, maybe: the weather, the lobster catch, stories of the good old days, the kids. Those conversations can go on forever.

When the weather gets warmer the seals will put away their growls and instead begin to sing, an eerie sound that will float across the island like the summer fog.  For now the growling is no longer alarming to us. It has become something we listen for, and are glad to hear.  

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