Our 44th Anniversary

Bonnie Manion

was spent on a  train, l’Ocean,
heading back to Montreal.  We
had kissed the night before--just
a tentative touch as we said goodnight
before crawling into our separate berths.

We are nearing the end of a journey
to the Nova Scotia Highlands, a Canadian
national park on remote Cape Breton Island.
At 47 degrees latitude, it’s about as far north
as people live in North America.

We had spent the week in a quite habitable cabin
on sparsely settled Aspy Bay, nestled among wild
rose bushes near a deserted beach.  Each headland
extends a protective arm out to sea, beaconing
explorers where John Cabot sighted a new world
in 1497.  More than 500 years later, the Cape is still
a rugged coast, pristine virgin forest.

We shared one hiking trail with a female moose,
heard scurries of creatures unseen among the ferns
and fog of the coastal bogs.  We plied the  ribbon
of scenic highway, watched for whales at Pleasant Bay,
trekked to hidden waterfalls brown with tannin from pines
that cover the hills.  Scrambled over the rocky remains
of volcanic shoreline rich with fossils from another epoch.

We tried it all, and now we’re heading back
to the memories of our youth.  “Please close
the window shade,” you intone as you roll over
in your bunk, not realizing that I sit dressed  in mine,
waiting quietly to breakfast with you at the dining car.
In companionable old age,  we both remain lonely
individualists--each looking for a lasting tribute,
careers and the kids gone their separate ways.  We
are on our own again in a new era of discovery--
of the me and you who met more than 45 years ago.

This poem about Nova Scotia was published in PK's Advocate. It is said that John Cabot landed here in 1497.


Main Location:

Aspy Bay, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada

The Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia