Illustration by JoDee Samuelson

Unexpected

The Cove Journal | by JoDee Samuelson

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March has been a month of unexpected, even bewildering, events. There was the COVID-19 scare with the long list of places one might have been and yep, we were at one of them. So Sunday morning we joined the long lineup at the government garage parking lot and inched our way towards the big doors around the final corner. It was something like parking on the ferry, and something like cows following one another up the ramp into… well, you know where. Fortunately, minutes later, nostrils slightly tender but nothing serious, we drove out the other side. Thank you, dear government, for caring so much about our wellbeing.

Another cold morning as we were eating breakfast, we glanced out towards the bird feeder and there was the towhee in the tray, eating his little heart out before the blue jays arrived and shoved him aside. We’re delighted that he decided to make our yard his winter home, but what he will do next? Hopefully he will head off to greener pastures and find a mate eager to share his colourful life.

Later that morning after blue jays, chickadees, mourning doves, juncos and red-winged blackbirds had descended on the feeder, we noticed a large dark lump in the snow. What the heck? Did you drop a chunk of firewood? No, did you? Out with the binoculars: It was a huge hawk, wings outspread, with a bird in its talons. Oh no! The towhee! … but it wasn’t the towhee. It was a starling. I know I should have felt bad for the starling, and I did, but I was so happy that it wasn’t our little darling. Well, we’re all a bundle of contradictions.

Another day, walking with friends along the shore road, beautiful sunlight, Strait half-iced in and Nova Scotia across the way, there in the field was a cheerful snowman, arms outstretched, big mask over his carrot nose. Yay! People still make snowmen! I hope it hasn’t been too warm for him and that he’s still out there unexpectedly spreading good cheer.

Here’s something else unexpected: This morning the wind turbine at the top of the hill was not turning. For years and years that turbine has faithfully whirled in the faintest of breezes, and in fact, I have never seen it at rest. While this doesn’t mean anything, it feels strange.

Then there’s our good friend who has suddenly developed health problems that medicine cannot cure. No one lives forever, not humans, not starlings, and certainly not snowmen, but we want to keep our irreplaceable friends with us a little longer.

We sure didn’t expect that on March 11, 2020, the WHO would declare a global pandemic. But here we are one year later and spring is returning, as expected. Every day the sun shines a little brighter. The snow is melting, ice is leaving the Strait, bedding plants are getting their first leaves, and we’re going to get vaccinated soon.

It’s a wonderful world, and maybe we need a few surprises now and then to keep us on our toes.

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.