Illustration by JoDee Samuelson

Island pillars

The Cove Journal | by JoDee Samuelson

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The sea continues to eat away at our lovely coastline. Wealthy cottagers purchase peace of mind by bringing in Nova Scotia granite boulders dumping them over the waterside edge of their lots. This works for a few years, but can anything hold back the great ocean?

Last winter’s high tides ate through some of our shore’s outcroppings and now we have interesting sandstone pillars and caves where none were before. I myself am reluctant to pose under these tenuous formations. It feels as though a small puff of wind, the tremor of a potato truck rumbling across the bridge, a burp from the volcano in Iceland, or anything at all—the flutter of a butterfly’s wings—might cause a few grains of sand to shift and then—stand back! Down she comes! Others of my acquaintance are not so timid and willingly pose under these shifty structures.

Do such pillars hold up the whole Island? I suppose they must. Perhaps only along the coast do we feel the fragility of sand grains held together simply by habit and pressure. Here a spruce tree teeters on the edge, roots exposed, hanging on for dear life; there a bayberry bush dangles upside down, hoping to live through summer, its waxy blue berries just forming. At the top of the cliff are the remains of stairs that once carried vacationers down to the shore or up to the cottage for drinks and sunscreen.

Society also shows signs of wear and tear. Our elders, community pillars who have always taken care of things, are stepping back. What will happen now?—Oh, what’s this? New pillars have appeared? It certainly looks like it. Here’s an example.

Because of Covid-19 there was no Perennial Sale in the Cove last year; should we try for another one? Some of us couldn’t decide, until some young women stepped up and said, “Let’s do it.” A committee was formed, weeks of phoning, emailing, and Facebook activity ensued—plus a great digging and potting of plants—and finally the great day arrived. We looked nervously at one another. Would anyone come? Did anyone still need our excellent perennials? Yes and yes!

Heavy fog shrouded the coastline on the morning of the sale. Warmly-dressed customers, some waiting patiently in line for an hour, were waved through the gate. Masked and sanitized, they lingered at tables holding hundreds of local plants, thoughtfully picking out this primrose, that iris, some dahlia bulbs, maybe a hosta or two, everyone laughing and chatting like mad. “We needed this!” “It feels like a tonic!” “Life has returned!”

By mid-morning the fog started to lift, revealing the Cove at low tide with its wave-ridged sand bars and child-friendly wading pools. Families made their way to the beach, laden with babies and toys, towels and cell phones. Perennial Sale customers headed home to beautify their gardens. It was a day brimming with potential and all we had to do was live it to its fullest.

Jodee SamuelsonThe Cove Journal
JoDee Samuelson

Born and raised in the Canadian prairies, JoDee now lives in “the Cove” on the Island’s beautiful South Shore. She was a maker of animated films for most of her working life, and presently putters at less demanding artistic ventures like carving owls, painting Island scenes on small woodblocks, and playing ukelele.