Torrential rains on Christmas Day, deep freeze on Boxing Day, influenza and deaths during the holiday season of 2014 kept most inside in the comfort of their homes. The beginning of 2014 saw the worse snow storms for decades. Storm after storm, after storm, the unrelenting winds, extremely cold temperatures that plummet below -45 Celsius cause water lines to freeze and rooftops on homes and business looked like something out of the Grinch that stole Christmas winter fairy tale. Winter began in early October 2013 and never ended until late May.
Some say it was a good thing. We needed all that snow to ripen the bake-apples on the stocks. And ripen they did! Bakeapples were so plentiful when the ripening season was over tons were left behind even though the marshes were ravished by everyone including me. I alone picked close to 200 lbs and those on four wheelers that ventures in over the marshes probably picked ten times more than that. I enjoyed so much the abundance of bakeapples close to home this year. Having to travel so far inland is not only tiring but dangerous. Nowadays, with timber wolves on the prowl and bears, it’s not safe to travel alone.
When the temperature plummeted to -45, I was not here. I was basking in the scalding +45 heat in sunny Australia with my daughter and grand-daughter. I made many wonderful memories to carry me forward through my remaining years. Even though some health issues and the constant nagging worry of having no home to come back to because of the unrelenting storms here at home, I had the most enjoyable time in years. Not only did I get to spend quality time with my oldest daughter and her family I got to plant my feet in the sands once more in Noosa. It’s there that the sand is as fine as icing sugar and the sound while walking bare feet is like the sound of chickadees chirping. We browsed the many little shops all along the waterfront, a millionaire’s paradise where a simple cotton dress cost more than 200 dollars. Oh, but I bought a white straw hat, and wore it religiously while I stayed and now it hangs on my bedroom wall and only worn whenever I feel the need to hear the sounds of birds chirping in the Noosa sands, while dressed in my winter clothing, heavy wool socks on my feet and my summer hat on my head…now I can see why some might think I’m eccentric.
I spent time with all three of my children and their families in 2014 and finally got to hold my two little grandkids, Wyatt and Vivian. Even though it was a long, long flight from Brisbane to Vancouver, and eight more hours flying from Vancouver to Deer Lake, NL, the longest part of my journey was getting from Corner Brook to Blanc Sablon. I spent 4 days and nights with a dear friend and 36 hours on the coastal boat, Bond, before I finally got back to the land of ice and snow and broken power lines due to the major winter storm where wind gusts clocked at times, 150 to 190km per hour, so I was told. It was -37 when I arrived. I’m surprised I had any house left.
In March month I walked across the ice to Basin Island on a quiet afternoon, had lunch on the same mound where my father once dried his cod and walked back. I seldom went on the road with my books in 2014, I was determined to finish the inside of the new section of my house built in 2013. It was challenging to figure out how to lay it all out and make it work for me. Two bedrooms and full bathroom later and all that is left to do now are the ceiling tile this spring.
For the first time since I moved back to the cove, the tulips and daffodils I planted the year before bloomed, and for the first time ever in this cove.
In July month, my brother Ronald, whom I been bonded with since birth and is on the cover of Broken Wings went to sleep for the last time and never again will I hear his laughter or his storytelling as before. Even though I miss him terribly, I had accepted life for what it is and moved forward in my own light until the day when it too will be snuffed out, like my brother’s light. Until then, I intend to lift my face to the sun and embrace the warmth from it. This, dear readers will be the last year I intend to spend in the cove. I can hardly wait until the spring thaw begins and I hit the road with my books and do what I had intended to do last year, and that is to travel every accessible cove in Newfoundland and make new memories. My third book, “Momma the mountains are crying” is a slow process and no telling when it will be ready for publication.
No caplin rolled again in Bradore, nor here in my little cove. They hadn’t rolled here for the past four years. The gannets came back, with their wide wingspan and graceful necks. I watched them plummet from the sky to catch whatever they were feeding on there in my cove. The whale too was back, I listen to her sprouting water while she circled the bay. I also had a brand new visitor this summer, a bald eagle. She was sitting on top of dog rock, barely 25 feet from my deck, and stayed there long enough for me to snap her picture. It was an exciting moment to get that close to such a wild bird. It was a normal summer like it was years ago, some still wore their winter jackets, the days were not too hot, just right for berry picking. Black flies were far worse than most summers since arriving back in the cove, and I cursed them aplenty before the days were done. The fishermen were late setting their traps this year. But once the herring and capelin were in the bay, the boats were seen going back to the wharf, with gunnels barely above the water. Even the wind was still. This I’ll miss when I leave the coast and carry on to where ever the wind takes me.
Finally, when the Redberry season was over with, and the end of the year approached, I went to spend the holiday season with my youngest daughter and my grand-daughter in Newfoundland baring the snow and ice storms. I’m home now, safe and sound. I feel so fortunate, that all my family is doing well health-wise and thriving. It was a wonderful year.
My books, Broken Wings, and My Journey are still in great demand and I thank all those who called me and written since they first hit the shelves in stores across Labrador, Newfoundland and Quebec in 2009 and 2012.
It’s January 14, 2015, and the wind chill is still hovering in the -30’s. in Blanc Sablon. The cold snap is still hanging on since the holidays. And I am regretting terribly that I didn’t go to a warmer place for the winter months. Oh, but spring is coming! And it’s scalding hot in Australia…perhaps too hot! Until next time, stay safe wherever you might be.