“Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.” – Virginia Woolfe
In the July 21 issue of The National Post, commenter David
Frum pushed the envelope about city versus County dwellers here in Prince
Edward. Musing about his “more than 20 summers in the village of
Wellington, Ont.,” Frum managed to distill his estival experiences down
to a level of triteness and petty goading.
The afterbirth of this fluff piece, published during prime
city-dweller vacation time, was a flood of letters and online commentary
from the locals of the County. While a few praised Frum, others were
deeply offended. An undeniable and ever-present rift between residents
and outsiders was reopened yet again for examination.
While on holiday, we may not be thinking about such things. We enjoy
the moment. But upon reflection once home, we may analyze impressions
that might be best left undisturbed.
However, the alternate can also be true if we are open to it.
This morning, I recalled a flight of pelicans that flew so very close
above a friend and me on a West Coast beach. The woodcut topography of
their bodies and shagbark feathers against a cobalt sky provoked a
striking image: ships launched in sepia tone V formation, headed into
the waves in search of fish.
Such descriptive words at the time eluded me because I was in a state
of pure feeling, like those prehistoric birds who do not know what a
wristwatch is. Time didn’t matter.
I can never think of a poem in the moment… and language becomes
something else. Maybe that is why we say, “That’s nice,” and just look
at one another and smile with our eyes when we are exploring a new place
on holiday. And then later the cells remember and bring back the
memory, as this one did for me while walking along the beach here in the
We have a choice in what we take home, and what we share about a
place after we have left it behind. Places that are somebody else’s
home. I’d rather write to you about the gorgeous moment described above
than about the rude locals on the beach fornicating, or what the
political atmosphere there was (which really is none of my business).
Prince Edward County is a beautiful, special place. Tourism is an
industry that is here to stay, one that is all the more precious because
of how it can help foster the success of local businesses old and new.
Regardless of your position on the old days versus the new, today we are
all in this boat together. On a trip to either city or country, we
carry our own personal packet of expectations. Is it really wise to let
those expectations blight the wonderful unexpected or unsought
experiences that separate the travellers among us from the summer
On a personal note: What was in the envelope? Something more valuable
than gold: a handwritten note from Dad with an accompanying poem. Not
one he composed himself, but by another poet, its message intended to
gently nudge me toward the good island and away from the pirates. In my
oft-rudderless ship, I tend to get caught in the reeds of worry and
concern over what others think about my choices and path. This paper
sleeve filled with love, hope, ethics and honesty cut through all my
selfcriticism. The world needs more of that.
Read the article here in The Wellington Times - August 10, 2012