Spectacles

The Cove Journal by JoDee Samuelson

Artwork by JoDee Samuelson

We were driving home past Québec City on a gusty day in April, having been happily storm-stayed in Montréal, when the sky was filled with geese by the thousands—beautiful white snow geese—whirling and dropping and dancing, in loose V-formations or cavorting on their own, all playing with the fitful wind, putting on a spectacle, it seemed, just for us. 

By total coincidence we saw the same thing last October in the same place. Then the snow geese were migrating south from their breeding grounds in the far north. Now six months later and holidays in the Carolinas over, they return to the Arctic for the serious job of starting another family. Their itinerary, coming and going, includes stopping at this small strip of coastline on the St. Lawrence River to dine on marsh grasses and delectable American bulrush roots. 

I’ve seen them twice! Pure magic. And how about that eclipse… I was here in 1972 when our last total solar eclipse happened but don’t remember a thing about it. (I had a baby and a health food store: is that an excuse?) Apparently it was a big deal. UPEI set up viewing sites on the North Shore and you can read about it at: projects.upei.ca/astronomy/tag/eclipse/

This time, April 8, 2024, we joined a modest number of bespectacled viewers down at the Cove. The low tide invited us to settle on a sandbar where, fortified by appropriate beverages and snacks, and entertained by the banter of lusty seals on a rocky outcropping (I hope they weren’t tempted to look up at the sun), we watched the moon edge across our life-giving star.

The sky grew softer, the shadows hazier, and a cold breeze sprang out of nowhere. We wrapped ourselves in blankets, took another sip of restorative tonic, adjusted our dark glasses and waited… but the eclipse at the Cove wasn’t total. I would describe it as “dusk with an extremely bright streetlight.” Nothing out of the ordinary happened. Children kept playing on the park swings. Crows kept cawing. 

It was still fabulous.

Things were more spectacular at North Cape where CBC recorded the gasps and passion of a crowd experiencing three minutes of total darkness. How lovely for Prince County to host such a significant event, and how unusual for those visitors to be part of a traffic convoy 20 kilometers long.

What a delightful eclipse. I didn’t hear one bad word about it. Maybe the true spectacle was seeing everyone on the same page, laughing, sharing and looking in the same direction. We need something like that every few months to bring us all together.

What am I thinking? We’re heading into May, a month full of special events and any number of kinds of reasons to get together. Graduations. Weddings. Mother’s Day. Lobsters, tulips, rhubarb pies. The Harlem Globetrotters. 

Poets have written more poems about “the merry month of May” than about any other month, so watch out. Things are going to happen. There are going to be some spectacles.

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.