July 17, 2022
We returned today to Canada’s Gros Morne National Park, however we are now camped at the seashore. It was a non-eventful 5 hour drive. Once camp was made, Christine took a nap and I set off on a 6km coastal hike.
The winds were brisk, cool, and constant.
I was following the old mail trail that until 1958 was the sole land route connecting the coastal fishing villages along this part of Newfoundland’s great western peninsula. In winter the mail delivery was by dogsled.
This was also “Tuckamore”, the locals name for the stunted and besieged woods that eek out their existence near the shore.
These trees, unlucky to have sprouted and taken root here, face the relentless onslaught of a stiff prevailing western wind. Cool and damp in summer, and murderously bitter in winter.
It is a gnomish forest. The trees are gnarled, twisted, and arthritic, becoming Nature’s own bonsai creations.
They strive to survive as a pack. Limbs interlock as they have learned to keep their heads down. Any that reach for the sky are beaten back, or die. The tangle is such that even the dead are denied their rest, perpetually held upright by their brothers and sisters.
Trees at the edge of the wood are forced into a rictus, branches forged to offer the least resistance to the winds.
Yet, this is a place that draws people. It drew me.
It is not a grand experience, like a Viking village, or walking atop the Earth’s mantle. But it is an experience to be absorbed and appreciated in the same manner, mindfully, present, and with all of one’s senses attuned.
It is for us to render “great” the “small experiences” with our attention… experiences that are presented to us every day, just as the sun sets… every day.
Peace Everyone. Pete