Dream come true: Afternoon piano recital, Beethoven and Chopin pouring out of little building we call “The Rural Conservatory.” Guitars and singing with “The Bob Dylan Complete Lyrics” open on table. Conversation and laughter into the night.
Yes, summer visitors have arrived and we are living the dream.
We walk to the Cove and observe four seals basking offshore, heads and tails above water, torsos apparently resting on shallow rocks: they in turn observe us. In the evening we roast Costco hotdogs (better than in-store!) over an open fire. Family member makes rhubarb cake with twice the rhubarb, turning cake into pudding (damp but delicious). I prepare Irish moss pudding with twice the Irish moss, resulting in—well, a firm white product. (It is suggested that I try again with less moss, more milk, and additional flavouring.)
We hope the season brings many more events like imperfect puddings that we can re-live in the long months to follow. Fortunately we won’t have talk about Hurricane Elsa who came and went without a fuss. And unlike our friends in the West, we, so far, have been spared the ravages of fire.
My summer reading included The Miramichi Fire about the destructive fire of 1825 that wiped out much of New Brunswick’s virgin forest. That got me wondering about forest fires on our own Island, and it seems we’ve had our share. A fire swept the eastern end of the Island in the early 1700s. I once visited the 500-year-old Glencorrodale Elm (now deceased) which, when drilled into, revealed a black ring dating back about 300 years. Was this battered old elm a survivor of that fire?
In 1736 and 1742 fires destroyed forests along the North Shore all the way from East Point to the Hillsborough River.
In 1784, with no rain from late May until July 10, fires set by new settlers for purposes of land clearing caused two thirds of the province to be burnt over.
In 1960 there was barely an inch of rain in the month of August, and forest fires destroyed 520 square kilometers of Prince County forest and farmland in what The Guardian-Patriot described as “The Greatest Single Disaster Ever to Hit PEI.”
We always hope that tragedies of this magnitude are behind us and we’ve learned our lessons, whatever they might be. This year we’ve had plenty of moisture and the Island is green green green. —Does anyone have earwigs like we do? They seem to love solar lights. Tip: shake ’em out into a bucket of hot water and they die instantly.
We’re taking summer one day at a time, earwigs and all, and we’re learning things about ourselves that we’ve forgotten. My visiting daughter-in-law has observed that Islanders love to chat. That everyone seems to know one another. That you can leave your bike unlocked down at the shore while you swim. Good things.
I don’t want to wake up from this dream. More Beethoven please!