|© August '09 photo by smck|
Driving back from L'Archeveque the setting sun over Ferguson's Lake was so lovely that I had to stop and take a picture from Barren Hill Road. As always the feeling of the fading day was ghosting over me like a pleasing shiver down my spine - no cars, no planes, no man-mad sounds, just the breeze that ruffled the lake and sighed through the spruce and the tiny sound of wave-lets gently lapping on the stony beach. I waited while the sky above darkened into early evening and while the old memories of Christopher Ferguson and others that I had been lucky enough to know in the Barren Hill community ran through my mind - and how in the brief span of my later life it has reverted to a vast background of forest and lakes with only about two inhabited homes - one in which I know the family the other an unknown to me - the rest empty, fading away, or gone, the great arboreal forest absorbing them back into its bosom, with this rural community like many others only a bit more alive by the influx of summer-from-aways like myself. It was on Barren Hill Road that the best friend of my life was born and raised and he and his house is gone. As much as I love rural living, this world of the future is steadily drawing most of the rural youth to its cities so that slowly, one by one, the small communities dwindle away or become summer colonies and the loss is profound - even if it is not of interest to the nation at large. I drive on back toward Grand River appreciating the lonely street lights as I crest the hill at the highway garage. Maybe Stewart and Sue are still up and I can stop and have tea and chase away my colly-wobbles, talking and laughing with my old friend's legacy, of son and daughter-in-law and grandchildren, to the future. And it works, the great embracing feature of the rural life, rarely discerned in the city, the embracing of your neighbor, the looking the stranger in the eye, the easy hello, the sincere interest in what you are doing and how you are going, even when you might be estranged because of some imagined slight the urge to embrace breaks forth at someone's misfortune and old wounds are healed, at least for awhile. It is like a large and scattered family that spends threads of communication through-out their scattering. I love it and miss it.
and now five years on, the scene is the same, the comment is the same, and my missing my old Cape Breton friends is deeper than ever