Sunday, May 29, 2011
Just returning from a trip to Prince Edward Island! And yes, I'm one of those irritating people who reads every sign out loud in a singsong voice on road trips. I think it's a recent thing actually, something that happened as we started making these sixteen hour drives a half dozen times a summer. Saw some signs I just didn't GET, no matter how I read them. One sign in Canada somewhere, outside a grocery store said: 'SAVE $10 ON FROZEN UTILITY TURKEY!' At least we passed several miles laughing outrageously about it. Once you are crazy-hysterical-tired, and sick to death of being in the car, really strange things seem funny. Stopping for a late breakfast in a diner, the kids were beyond excited, inexplicably, about those dinky, little packets of butter they give you with your meal, only the waitress didn't bring nearly enough to cover their enormous pancakes... When packing up the 'fridge in the cabin before hitting the road, we put a giant block of leftover butter in our cooler. Example of over-tired hysteria: Justin suggested we go out to the car and get OUR butter for the pancakes...and I said it was a BYOB restaurant, (Bring Your Own Butter, obviously)...and then I cracked up, and spit my orange juice everywhere. Christ. Get me home. Where signs make sense, and the butter isn't funny.
Ira must have remembered that he used to get horribly carsick, so there were quite a few fun/vomit-filled stops on the drive, using up entire containers of baby wipes and all of our towels. We almost turned back at one point, but he wouldn't let us.
The vacation week was lovely otherwise. Still cool on The Island, but there was sun, and mostly nice, mild days, unlike back here in Vermont where Mother Nature gave you the smack down, so we heard. We did plenty of beach walks, the boys donned wetsuits and went in the water some. Lots of sponges washed up, and the wind was salty and brisk. I found a smooth, bleached, driftwood rootball that Justin created a chandelier out of. The coastline seems so rugged with the big red rocks, but it was ravaged by the winter, so much erosion this spring, with trees tipping out of the cliffs. We filled our pockets with treasures, as usual. Stones that are prettier when they are wet, shells with rainbows glossed over their interior, foggy bits of beach glass. Young seals kept popping up, curious as to what the boys were doing. Scuffed our toes in sand that sings as you walk.
Drove up to East Point and explored. Justin wanted to tour a new distillery up that way. So bizarre, how tiny and rural everything is when you get away from the touristy sections, we drove through one village that was named, no joke, "Five Houses". Can you imagine living in a town actually called Five Houses? Our neighbors have said, in the winter months, only a few cars drive by all day long, and they can tell, just by the sound of them, who it is. Very neat. Passed a field of windmills built up over several abandoned, decrepit farmhouses, interesting...the mix of yesterday and tomorrow. The Island is almost entirely powered by wind which is amazing.
In some ways, the place appears behind the times. Through the Acadian areas, women still wear skirts and nobody has ever left home. Islandwide, everyone goes to church on Sunday, (all stores close even) they farm/fish for a living, fashion is unheard of, no high speed Internet, teeny schools, etc, but it's like they've picked and chosen the areas of life that really MATTER and moved out to the front of the pack there. They are light years ahead of us when it comes to the environment. Mandatory composting, they recycle EVERYTHING and make almost no waste. Every community has shared farm equipment, they rotate crops by law to protect the soil. People drive fuel efficient cars. The Island prides itself on being self sufficient, they raise their own food and are so close to being entirely independent power-wise. Also it's CLEAN and pretty. They award money to people who have the nicest yard/flowers/gardens yearly...I suppose that's because of the whole tourism thing, but it's admirable to see such a tidy, picturesque place. People are all (well, the ones we've met anyhow) incredibly welcoming, and such characters! I love it.
Our friends and neighbors, Ethan and Lila have become surrogate parents/grandparents when we visit. I can't think of anything they haven't offered us...extra beds, huge, homecooked meals, showers, allergy meds...sweetest folks on the planet. They watch out for our cabin all year. Ethan even mows our lawn, not that we asked him to...he just does it. They have four children around our age, spread across the globe...China, Cuba, Toronto and...I forget where the other one is right now. Good people. We're lucky to know them.
Let's see...what else did we do...? Built a new bed with a trundle beneath for the boys. Our cabin is adorable, but when it rains, the kiddos seem like huge, noisy beasts, far too big to contain in such a wee house. Hopefully expansion coming in the future. It feels necessary to spread out a bit more. It IS such a cozy cottage now though. We had the potbelly wood stove humming in the evenings, with cocoa heating on top, of course. Lots of simple things, that are beautiful to me there. I love laying in bed and watching geese and gulls shadow the curtains in early morning light, and seeing the sun set over swayback ridge-poles of sagging, shingled barns. The way the fog rolls in and hides the sea out the front window. The ferry horn, long and low, right as we fall asleep. I needle-felted gnomes in candle glow, and whenever the weather was iffy.
And here we are, home, with birthday parties, barn chores, bills, laundry and the Memorial Day parade to be reckoned with. Part of the Island charm may be the fact that those things don't really exist to us there! But...Cest la vie. A busy summer ahead, and hopefully another trip in our near future. As we came down the hill in Chelsea, after sitting in the car for a zillion loooonnnnnng hours, I was thrilled to sing out, in obnoxious opera style..."Tunbridge...6 miles!!!!" after spotting the beloved road sign. Home again, home again, jig, jig, jog.
Posted by Emily at 6:02 AM