Friday, 16 November 2007

The Coast Way

Snow, high zero

Well, we're not exactly snowed in, but it is snowing and blowing and some is staying on the ground. And I have nothing to do today except sit in front of the fireplace and sip tea and read. How I've yearned for this day.

Yippee.

The Canadian Club luncheon was wonderful yesterday - because of the people, as always. So generous and gracious. Met a woman who's over 90, though I'd never guess it, who was Den Mother to several generations of children who traveled alone to this area of Quebec from the Lower North Shore. I talk about hat part of Quebec in DEAD COLD/A FATAL GRACE. It's where Gamache meets the fisherman who changes his life. The desolate, rocky, bleak landscape the first explorer called The Land God Gave to Cain. And yet, if you visit, you soon see the grace, the beauty. In the people, who ask for nothing and want for nothing. The beauty is in the small things, as it so often is. The lichen on the rocks, the tiny wildflowers, the flash of a fish as it leaps.

There's only one high school for the whole coast. Kids as young as 12 and 13 get sent away, far away, to school. And this woman, elderly now, met them at the train stations and busses, and took them in. And cared for them. And let them know they were safe. As people on the coast have done themselves for strangers for years.

I walk around grasping my dog-eared copy of The Cruellest Month, speaking to groups and signing copies as though what I did mattered. And I know it's not trivial, and it does matter. But it's very good for me to be reminded of the work other people do. That matters.

Still snowing. It's a quiet, peaceful day.

2 comments:

Diane said...

Oh to live in Three Pines where even ducklings have surrogate mothers who write poetry!

Sheila said...

After Still life,which my sister just bought,read Dead Cold and again,loved it but didn't guess who done it like I didn't in Still Life which is fine-I like surprises.Now into Cruellest Month.You won't be able to keep up with us fans!Re Dead Cold,we didn't curl on the icy St. Louis River in Beauharnois,but had a curling rink near the pulp & paper mill.We did skate on "shit creek" however and played hockey,French and English kids together.The river was behind our wartime houses in the 40s & 50s.Mill gone but creek still there.