|A wild day on the Bras D'or... 'Going home'|
I was thinking about my deep roots still pulling me home, thinking that no matter where I've gone in my life, and no matter what I've accomplished, I will always be, not a Nova Scotian, but a Cape Bretoner. I was thinking about the immigrant experience and how it shaped our lives, we the seeds that were planted on that island, growing, like our early garden transplants, sometimes without much encouragment, too little fertilizer, too little rain. Working parents, like gardeners, trying their best to nurture us to bloom.
Some of the strongest influences came from the Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Italian and Polish in our community. Each culture brought their own seeds of diversity. As I spend my January and February days leafing through Seed catalogues, making decisions about what I think might grow best here in our sandy quick draining soil, I can't help but be drawn to the old heirloom varieties, seeds, like my ancestors, that have survived for hundreds of years against all odds. As I read, I am remembering the food of our Cape Breton community, the celebrations of our ethnic population, shared church suppers, New Year's Eve dinners and dances at the Ukrainian hall among many fond memories. We grew up to respect what we had grown ourselves, not as some thought, you must be poor if you have to grow it and can't buy it. They didn't understand and some still do not understand. "Why do you grow that when you can just go out and buy it" a friend asked. How can you answer that? It would take generations of words to reply.
Anyway, a long drive gives you lots of time to think. It's not always easy going back home. Sometimes the journey is about a funeral, a sick family member ....sometimes a difficult circumstance one doesn't want to face. A highlight of this journey however, was my sister's 50th birthday and as we say in Cape Breton.."what a time it was".
Our roots run deep. We're planted, we grow, sometimes we make it to adulthood, sometimes not. Like the seeds we try to germinate and nourish, it's not always a happy ending. But, this weekend was and so to you dear sister, Happy Wonderful Joyous Fantastic Birthday and many many more.