East Coast summer

October 6, 2015 at 10:14 am Leave a comment

IMG_2910It’s well into fall and I am finally getting to my summer vacation photos – better late than never, right? I spent almost a month in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia this summer, with a quick stop in Ottawa on the way home. When I was growing up we spent a month every summer in the Maritimes visiting family, and those visits, like this year’s, are such happy memories.

PEI visit

What a treat it was to have all that time. To be able to sit and talk, or to sit and not talk and just enjoy the company and whatever comes into view – sun, sky, ocean, birds, flowers, trees. What a treat to see all the people who live too far away. Friends, family and neighbours: I find the the line between them blurs so easily when I travel east. Clan, I think, is closer to the right word.

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We kayaked, splashed in the water, went to the beach, travelled around, ate saltwater, sand and seaweed (baby!), and cooked with PEI potatoes, all the beautiful summer produce and seafood – lobster, mussels, scallops, salmon, haddock. Took long walks up quiet lanes and red sand shores. Of course, as is the east coast way, we also spent many, many hours visiting all the special people while sipping tea, coffee, wine (especially local wine), beer, vodka…

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PEI kayak

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And don’t forget mowing the lawn. Very exciting for a little guy to see his daddy and Grampie making the rounds on the ride-on mower. One thing I always notice about Maritimers is that their homes, yards, and gardens are so well loved and cared for. As my husband said, “lawn-mowing is like a provincial pastime,” after he noticed all the beautifully manicured ditches along people’s properties.

Also, clothes lines. Much ado about those, and rightly so. A lovely line flapping in the summer sun is a fine thing to behold.

Tides and moons. Low and high, dark and full and super, and all the in-betweens.

Sunrises. With a baby around you never miss one of those. Tired as I might be, I am always grateful for the sight of both.

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With such a long time away, we had a chance to develop a whole new set of routines. Summer vacation routines. Cottage routines. Mornings with Nana and Grampie routines. Those were the best. Little man would wake up with the light and not long after Nana would come upstairs to collect him and mommy would roll over and go back to sleep for a couple of hours while diapers were changed, breakfast was eaten, and playing was had. Then nap and lunch and swimming and scootching and visiting in an ever-changing set of arms. I said while I was down east how hard it would be to come home and not have all grandmas around, and indeed it was. Not only did we have our own Nana, there were also the “shore grandmas” – all of our cottage neighbours of grandmothering age who were always happy to pass the baby, snuggle the baby, bounce the baby, talk with the baby, laugh with the baby.

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There is something so nice about this, about visiting so long with people that they become part of your day, and vice versa. When I was growing up and we went to stay with my grandparents in Nova Scotia it was like that. I remember the breakfast routine so clearly – the voices, the smell of buttered toast, raspberry jam, porridge, the way the light looked at that time of day. Likewise with lunch, breakfast, dinner. Picking peas and potatoes from the garden. Or walking down to the beach – the very specific crunch of the rocks underfoot, the texture of the wood on the wharf, the seats on the boat, the salt breeze as we raced through the water.

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I know my little one is too young to start gathering memories like this, long memories, life memories, but it was a beautiful thing to see his memory at work in the short-term. He remembered raspberries – he and Nana were out picking them every morning for his breakfast, and every time we walked by the bush he reached for them. He remembered the sound of my dad imitating the talking Eeyore doll my uncle gave him: every time he heard my dad speak in that low, dreary Eeyore tone he’d scrunch up his face in a big grin. He remembered the taste of salt water: every time we went swimming he would dip his hand in the water and give the ocean a taste. And all the jumping and bouncing he did at the beach translated over into bath time: every trip to the tub became a splishy, splashy mess!

They seem like silly little things, but of course they’re not. Well, they might be silly, but not little.

Now that we’re home, it’s back to the old routines, with no more jumping up and down in the tub. I guess that was just a Maritime thing. It’s easier, but already I’m nostalgic for the splashing. What a wonderful summer we had down east. I can’t wait to go back.

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Entry filed under: Family, Travel. Tags: , .

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