It’s a love story

Exploring the Acadian coast together was a love story

I grew up on Long Island Sound where the summer weather was sultry and the Sound was extra salty. I learned to swim there. It was easy. The extra salt makes you more buoyant. You could see Long Island out there, if it wasn’t too hazy. It’s very similar to the way you can see P.E.I. off the coast of New Brunswick, giant windmills and all.

 Archie grew up in North Bay, Ontario, on the shores of the ocean-like Lake Nipissing.  There are giant waves, sandy beaches and big ships and you can’t see the opposite shore, it’s that big. It seems like the ocean, but  there’s no salt in that water. 

 So we come by our love of beaches and surf naturally. We seek them out.  We’re like salmon trying to get back to our origins.

The Bouctouche Bay Inn

Our exploration began at the Bouctouche Bay Inn, 1999. That’s ten years ago now. It was a quick holiday in the Fall away from our respective kids, romantic and passionate. We must have left a few sparks smoldering – the place  burnt down. But really, that was four years later, and it was probably a deep fat fryer that led to the demise of the old and beautiful Inn. It still makes me sad whenever we drive by the grassy rise where the inn once stood.

Caissie Cape Cottage

cottage on clear summer day

The next year we rented a cottage at Caissie Cape for a week and explored the whole time. By the following fall we had purchased a cottage in Cocagne. It’s definitely our happy place. We met and came together later in life and that has posed some challenges, but the cottage in Cocagne became our first home together, our first shared space. It gave us privacy, sunny sensual surroundings and a place to breathe and relax. A  slow pace and a place where love could bloom.

The Coast is Always Changing

beach trails from seaweed

A coast, where sea meets shore, is a place where a lot happens all the time.  Water, wind and sand constantly interact and change shape and rhythm. Of course everything is always changing from the subatomic level on up to the  macro expansion of the universe. But on the coast, you can see it always changing, all of the time. That’s the difference and that’s why it’s so compelling to watch and enjoy. The elements come together and act on each other, sometimes gently, or sometimes with gusto or even violence.  But the result always seems to  be something beautiful — the stones, patterns on the sand, seaweed, twists of driftwood, the sudden lifting grace of birds, the rippling sea grass, the parade of clouds.

shell held up to the sun

A landscape can be a backdrop, a mirror or a metaphor for a state of mind . Or, for a relationship. Why do we love this coast so? The deeper we go into this place, the more we learn about each other. It allows a dialogue. It makes room for us to create together. 

I ask Archie, “Why do you love going to the cottage so much?”  His one word answer, “Escape.”  Why do you love me?  “You are my companion”.  I take this to mean that we are a perfect pair to travel the road of life. Counterpoints and complements.

woman holding heart shaped stone on her heart

Why do I love going to the shore? Simplicity and freedom. Why do I love my husband?  Because he is always in motion and that motion is always toward something good.

We feel openness and expansion at the shore. When we’re ready to go inside, by contrast the small cottage doesn’t seem cramped, but cozy.  It’s a place of gestation, it holds and contains.

Auberge le Vieux Presbytère in Bouctouche through trees

We were married four years ago at the Auberge le Vieux Presbytère — an old rectory now reborn as an inn. I could feel that many prayers were said in that space. It’s in Bouctouche, right on the water. As we said our vows we could look right out at the water through stately maple trees. It was a blustery, rainy September day. Perfect, though. We can weather storms. 

Sometimes we  jostle and unsettle each other like the waves, sometimes we polish each other, like beach glass. Sometimes we surprise each other, like  seeing a red spider on white beach sand. Sometimes the right words to say just come, in an instant, like the punctuation of birds taking flight.

We come here to the shore to find each other, to push, to polish. How beautiful. How full of discovery, motion and peace, all at the same time. 

stormy weather clouds while woman walks on beach