Morning walk

The Cove Journal by JoDee Samuelson

A sparkling morning, one of the shortest days of the year, sun low over the Strait, long blue shadows. Walking down to the Cove I turn to the woman beside me: “So what’re you doing these long dark nights?” 

Friend replies, “Binge watching New Amsterdam.” 

“Never heard of it. Is it good?” (What a question!) 

“Good?” She shrugs. “I don’t know. It’s addictive.” 

“Okay, what’s it about?” 

“There’s this imaginary hospital in New York City with gorgeous sexy doctors, and sick people who have no health insurance and all scared stiff that they won’t get treatment. But New Amsterdam Hospital treats patients, if they have insurance or not, with—you know—MRIs, CT scans, open heart surgeries.”

“And they all live happily ever after?”

She laughs. “Of course. Well, it is television. I was addicted to ‘House’ too. I guess I just like hospital dramas.” We stop at the park gate and wait for the others to catch up. “Did I tell you,” she says, “that George [her brother-in-law] had a pain in his side last week? He and Alma waited in emergency from 11 at night till 7 in the morning, him just walking around, couldn’t sit down the pain was that bad.”

“Eight hours! What happened?”

“Kidney stones. Worst pain in the world, Alma said.”

“Everybody seems to be waiting in emergency for hours… but we do get seen eventually.” The day is too perfect to waste on gloomy thoughts. “Looking on the bright side,” I say, “here we can get help without losing our homes or being in debt for the rest of our lives. It’s kind of amazing. I know I take health care for granted.”

“Me too. It’s a real—oh, look!!” An eagle glides directly overhead, soundless, perfectly balanced, with white head and tail gleaming in the sunlight. 

“He came out of nowhere!” The others join us: “That was amazing! So close up! He was probably as surprised as we were.”

We tramp through a tumult of fallen trees, scarlet rosehips, Nova Scotia holly berries, and delicate brown asters. Winter. So beautiful. “Careful!” The path is icy underfoot and we don’t want any accidents. 

At water’s edge the sea gently nudges a long roll of seaweed that was washed in with the last storm. Otherwise the beach has been washed clean of everything but a few oyster shells and one long straight log that would make someone a nice flagpole. Today the sea is calm and unthreatening, yet a few days ago it was a roaring mayhem, a perfect showcase of whitecaps and foam. 

Uprooted spruce trees tumble over the capes, their branches decorated with strands of rockweed and stalactites of ice. Our shore. Where tides rise and fall right on cue, eagles appear out of nowhere, icicles form and melt away one droplet at a time. 

“Look at these snails!” someone calls. “All snuggled together in this long crack, ready for winter. Happy New Year, little snails,” she says.

We settle ourselves on slabs of ancient sandstone and watch the day unfold.

Born and raised on the Canadian prairies, filmmaker and artist JoDee Samuelson has lived on the beautiful south shore of Prince Edward Island for the past thirty years.JoDee always loved drawing and was encouraged in all her creative pursuits by her mother, who was a commercial artist before marrying a Swedish minister. JoDee’s interest in filmmaking began when she took part in an animation workshop at the Island Media Arts Co-op in 1989. Her animated films have been shown at festivals around the world, winning numerous awards for the Island filmmaker.