I Find Myself is a series I’m writing about discovering self along the way in my travels. Today I write about a brief visit to New Brunswick.
I find myself in New Brunswick. I hadn’t intended to visit New Brunswick. I was planning to stay in Maine today and go out whale watching, a late birthday present to myself. But the seas are rough today, so the captain cancels the voyage and I look for plan B.
Campobello island is just a short drive across the bridge from Lubec, Maine, the easternmost port in the United States. In my journey I feel pulled to the furthest reaches, so of course I curiously wander to Lubec, wondering what I’ll find this far north and east.
I cross over the bridge and almost immediately discard the maps and tourist information which I’ve had thrust upon me by well-meaning locals. The island isn’t that big, it’s a beautiful day, and I want to explore. Enjoying the surprise of an unplanned visit to Canada, I slowly navigate up the coastal road, wondering what people here love and don’t care for about living on an island. Island living is always different than mainland living, and I think some people are cut out for it and others aren’t.
Wandering to the north of the island, I find a parking area and get out of the car to see what is here. It’s very windy here and the wind has a bit of a bite, so it’s hard to really enjoy standing in one spot for very long. However, the view is so spectacular I decide to figure out some way to enjoy it. I climb down some rocks to a little cleft where the wind is blocked, and then just sit there to soak in the view.
The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. At this particular spot I see waves rushing together from two different directions. Signs proclaim that part of the island goes completely underwater as the tide rises, creating a small island out of the “peninsula” that’s there at low tide. Tides rise as much as 5 feet in an hour, and what looks like dry land and a great view of a lighthouse can become raging ocean 30 minutes later, with no way back for another 10 hours.
In my sheltered spot I watch sea lions dip in and out of sight and seagulls look for something to eat. I know the water is frigid already and will only get colder as Fall deepens into winter.
I wish I could bottle the breathtaking beauty. The sea is the deepest blue. I think about the world it holds that’s invisible to my eye above.
I leave to drive a little further around the island and then settle upon a trail to hike. I feel like I’m cheating myself to some degree, because I’m trying to get through a loop that’s several miles long before darkness and cold settles in. And yet with every single step I feel it’s a pity that I cannot stop and stay for an eternity, breathing in the view, or the intense greenness; the moss that covers everything like wall to wall carpeting, even extending up the sides of trees and railings. The ocean is wild and expansive, and I feel respect for what lives in there. I see dolphins swimming off the coast and have to remind myself again that I need to keep going to beat the darkness.
The trail becomes more difficult and I’m sometimes using my hands as well as my feet to make it up some inclines. Finally I reach the end of the loop and feel a sense of sadness that I must say goodbye. No photo will ever adequately capture the richness that every step of my hike contained. I feel spoiled that I was given so many moments of wild beauty, and I think about those in this world who have lives of dreariness and pain and ugliness. I am overwhelmed that this planet can contain so many people with such different realities. There are many, many who cannot, could not fathom the kind of beauty I had extravagantly experienced in this one day.
What do we do when we have so much goodness in one moment that we wish we could bottle, but we know is not preserve-able? The more I learn about life, the more I realize that all I can do is enjoy my “now” as deeply as possible. More goodness will come my way, but never exactly like the way it is present now.
I know we all have different ways, what are some of yours?