This is what furry napping looks like in the Scamp. Maeve, ignoring my dictates to STAY OFF MY PILLOWS and Galway is that lump under the bedspread. Classic. I've got my ATF (All Time Favorites) playlist going and I'm not sure there's not some larger plan afoot, because things seem much too perfect. I'm stuck inside the Scamp, if such a thing could be called stuck, in a storm the likes of which remind me very strongly of Ireland. I have Maritime Mist in my little pot (kept cozy, thanks to my cousin Susan) because what else am I going to drink in the Canadian Maritimes and while it storms? Seriously. But then Buddy Guy comes on, with "Feels Like Rain," and such things just make me smile.
It's been an interesting couple of days. I spent a couple of days at Fundy National Park, which is another terrific campground, except for the effing black flies. I've never had to deal with black flies before and they're so much worse than mosquitoes, if such a thing is possible. They seem to ignore my OFF (the internet says that some argue that they are attracted to it) and if I had one of those mosquito net hats, I'd be wearing it, but I don't have one. But the real effect of the black flies is that I spent more time inside my Scamp (cooked dinner inside on the second night) than I wanted to, because it was gorgeous out there. Each morning started misty and damp, but it burned off by noon. I should have figured it out beforehand, but when I was in the little bookshop in Alma (an awesome little shop), the owner said that the weather changes as the tide changes, which makes sense--I just never though about it.
The Hopewell Rocks were definitely a highlight--and I definitely overdressed for it, because it was cool and damp when I left the campground and by the time I got down to the ocean floor, the sun came out. And I got sunburned, of course, though that didn't show up until much later that night when I couldn't figure out why my face and neck felt like they were on fire. Duh. But I got there, parked, paid my admission, and it was just after noon, so the tide was out and I could walk down to the ocean floor to walk around the Flower Pots. I walked down the path to get there, but I could have paid for a ride (and I did on the way back). I didn't exactly know what to expect, but the ideas of geologic time were forefront as I wandered around these immense pillars, formed by time and water, the intense patience of geologic time.
The tide was out, so the mud flats stretched in front of us, and the water seemed to be a muddy shade of reddish brown (and would continue to be as I drove north/east through Moncton to get to PEI). Despite signs warning not to go into the mud flats, a group of four college-age boys were up to their calves in the mud and I heard one of them laugh, "It's like walking through chocolate pudding!" A young father with a young son, both mudded halfway up their knees, and the mom says, "I hope Daddy has a good plan to clean you two up!" And Dad says, "Yeah, I didn't think that far ahead," which made the mom and young daughter laugh.
As I sat above the Daniels Mud Flats, watching that clear line to where the water is--and where it will be by 5:45 tonight, the idea of tides still doesn't make sense to me. It's a Midwestern failing, I think. Water moves, something to do with the moon, eminently mysterious, and I'm sitting right now in the place where the most dramatic display of that happens. I was thinking of the saying that the tide waits for no man--and it seemed like a good title to something, but then, when I was down by the Flower Pots, I looked at the erosion patterns and again thought about the patience of Lake Superior--and I realized that the tide does wait, but its idea of time is so far removed from my understanding of time (and water, for that matter) that we need different terms. Otherwise we use cliches like "eternal"--and we don't know what that means either.
Thanks to the strangeness of having wifi in a national park, I was able to plan my route to PEI and it was supposed to take three hours. I took the morning easy and headed through Moncton towards the Confederation Bridge. It started to rain as I got to Moncton, but it didn't bother me much. I stopped at the Atlantic Superstore, which is like a cheap Walmart, which is saying something--I knew it was going to rain the next couple of days, so I wanted to get food I could cook easily inside the camper (crock pot and such) and I also needed more spoons (two of each silverware is not enough), along with some other things I needed. Learned that tortillas (for my black beans) could not be had for love or money.
In the checkout line, the checker says to me that the man who was in front of me was a police officer and it was his brother who was shot--and I had no idea what she was talking about, so I just said wow with what I hoped was appropriate horror. Whether or not I understood, having one's brother shot and killed was an incredibly horrible thing. I got back in the Jeep and tried to get on Hwy 15 to get to Hwy 2, which would take me to PEI, but police cruisers with light bars flashing had shut down the road. I still didn't have any idea what was going on.
So, as I'm getting better at U-turns with the Scamp, I turned around and headed back the way I'd come, stopping at the first gas station I saw for directions. "You look lost," said the attendant, who had stepped out for a smoke. "Not yet," I said. I said I was trying to get to PEI, but the road was shut down, and he nods and tells me about cops getting shot yesterday and I must have looked as shocked and confused as I felt, and I said I'm not from around here. He asks where I'm from and I said I'd been in Fundy Natl. Park last night and he nods, as if that excuses my ignorance. He pulls a paper off the shelf and it's a manhunt for a guy who killed three cops yesterday and injured two more. The guy looks at me and says, "My advice, get out of town," but there's no snark in his voice. He's worried. Half the town is shut down, people in the area where police think the shooter is are hunkered down and hiding. He gives me directions to get to another road and I thank him, get back on the road, and don't get lost.
I underestimated the Confederation Bridge, how long it is, and it wasn't nearly as exciting as I wanted it to be. At least it wasn't raining. The drive north to Cabot Beach Provincial Park, on the north side of PEI, was beautiful and I hope I can get some pictures that do those colors justice, the depth of that rich red soil, a color I've never seen before, the fresh green of newly sprouted fields. This morning, as I'm hunkered down in the Scamp while a storm frets around me, I wonder if those colors hold up as vibrant when half the world is a flat gray without dimension. Already I'm drowning in Anne of Green Gables kitsch. The first thing I saw at the visitor's center when I got off the bridge was a four pack of raspberry cordial.
But this storm feels more Irish than what I'm used to, in terms of storms, and although I forgot to put the jacks down until I'd climbed into bed last night and realized that the camper was much too wiggly (and so I put my clothes back on to put down the jacks...), it's more a heavy mist turned into a weapon by this wind, rather than the full drops I'm used to. Irish rain and Irish storms are a lot like this. When I got up this morning, I determined that I wasn't going to hurry anywhere, because what would be the point? Glad to know that the leaks have been fixed in here, though I don't know if we've actually had that much rain-rain, or if it's just mostly rain-wind. So I'm drinking my Maritime Mist, writing postcards to my niece and nephew (she's four and keeping track of my travels via her globe) and I wrote to her brother (16 months) that I thought he'd like playing in the mud flats at Hopewell. I've got my little heater keeping things cozy in here (and I've just run the leaves in my teapot again) and I'm ridiculously glad not to be in a tent--and I can just hear my dad's voice complaining about wet canvas of the pop up we had when we camped when my sisters and I were kids. I have my mother to thank for my electric blanket (something Galway mightily approves of). A lot to be said for the wonder of molded fiberglass.