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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter in the Cove

Bluewater Cove near Swansboro, NC
The phrase "winter in the cove" has a lot of meaning for me.

First it brings back memories of the winter of 1971 which was my first one after college.  I spent that first winter in St. Croix Cove, Nova Scotia.  I moved to Canada because I desperately wanted to own some land and be someplace sides the city.   It was a magical time of learning to live beyond the confines of Cambridge and in fact in another country.

Living in the St. Croix Cove was almost like living in another time.  Listening to the radio was our big entertainment.  It is hard to imagine, but there were no supermarkets, Lowe's Home Improvement Centers, or Walmarts.  There was a small grocery store in Bridgetown, Nova Scotia.  It was a nine mile drive to town.

Nine miles does not sound like much, but the first three miles was over a dirt road.  I grew up on a dirt road in the south, but a Nova Scotia dirt road in the winter time is something beyond what most people have experienced.  That first winter it was not unusual to get several inches of snow, followed by enough rain to completely melt the snow, and finished off with an amazingly abrupt freeze with more snow.

When you translate that into the reality of a dirt road, that means snow, mud, and frozen ruts.  The freezing and thawing of northern dirt roads is something to behold.

I spent three winters in the cove before we moved to just north of Fredericton, New Brunswick.  We lived there until 1984 when we moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, but even with being able to see water from our bedroom, it wasn't like winter in the cove.

There would be a number of stops along the way, but it would be thirty-four years before we once again got to have another winter in a cove.  Our cove now is a quiet spot just off the White Oak River.

We are a lot closer to the water, and all the roads are paved.  We can be at the Lowe's Supermarket in less than ten minutes.  Next door is a Lowe's Home Improvement Center.  There is a Walmart less than twenty minutes away.  Compared to that first winter in the cove along the Bay of Fundy, we have all the modern conveniences.

We even have restaurants.  There were none on our Nova Scotia shore except for Alice's Clam Shack which was open during the summer.  Bridgetown didn't have a restaurant, but they did have a great hardware store.  There was no Internet, and our phone line was a party line.   I often did my shopping at Beaverfruit Cooperative in Lawrencetown.  You could get a bag of feed for the cattle or pigs while picking up your groceries.

In spite of the many differences and forty years between the winters in the coves, there are some similarities.  Life along the coast of North Carolina brings with it some isolation, but it is more self inflicted rather than absolute.  Still the feeling of being out of the mainstream is similar to what I felt in St. Croix Cove in the early seventies.

The differences end being the sum total of how life in the country has changed over the last forty years.

Going to a restaurant from our home on the Nova Scotia cove required planning and at least forty-five minutes of driving in the winter.  We can be at any of several restaurants in under ten minutes from our cove off the White Oak River.

It is not unusual for us to go to the grocery store several times a week.  The Internet keeps us in touch with the people we chose instead of the those who want to listen in on the party line.

It was a mile hike to the shore in Nova Scotia, and it seemed the wind never stopped blowing.  There never seemed to be a real warm spell in the winter.

Yet at the same time, the number of people we see on a winter day is not too far different from the number that we saw in Nova Scotia.

We are a lot closer to the water here in North Carolina.  Still we live in an area where there is more wildlife than might be expected.  Having the Croatan National Forest might have something to do with that.

We do get warm weather on the North Carolina coast even in January.  This weekend which will mark the end of the third week of January, we should see temperatures approaching seventy degrees.  Seventy degrees happens to be a nice summer day on the shore of Nova Scotia.

We just finished off some lettuce from our winter garden.  You had to look for lettuce in those early Nova Scotia grocery stores, and you certainly couldn't get any from your garden in January.

I am pleased to have survived those first winters in the Nova Scotia cove.  They make our winters here on our cove in North Carolina that much more enjoyable.  So far this has been a remarkably nice winter along North Carolina's coast.  Even during the fall we enjoyed weather that was hard to believe.

Of course winter lasts a long time in Nova Scotia and rarely stays very long in North Carolina, but it is not surprising that both places have their benefits and people who loving living in their unique climates.

You can find pictures of our Nova Scotia home and the cove at this Picasa Web Album.  This winter picture is one that brings back a lot of memories from that first winter in the cove.

From Memories

While we have seen snow in Bluewater Cove here along the White Oak, it is nothing like what we experienced in Nova Scotia.

From Snow Shots Jan. 23, 2011

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