Earlier this afternoon during my constitutional drive – as I soared noiselessly in the balmy summer air with the windows and the landau roof open – I bemoaned my fate. I resigned myself that wintering in Florida this year is unlikely. Admittedly it is mainly a concession that as a result of the pandemic the world has changed inalterably. At the same time I was no more willing than usual to bend to defeat. Instead I pondered the possibility of couching in a seaside drawing room overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in the Province of Nova Scotia.
The one thing of which I am certain concerning the unexpected remodelling of human agenda is that there is invariably a window – no matter how tiny – through which one can penetrate to discover a new and entirely refreshing turn. To resist amendment in life is never useful. By odd coincidence it is the very acceptability of change which facilitates overcoming its initial contamination. One mustn’t forget the adventurous element of modification. The human psyche is such that it generally avoids diversion from what is familiar. Granted there is a convenience in doing so. As children we were accustomed to adoption of change. When we grow older we sometimes mistakenly presume that our days of rumble and tumble are over. This often amounts to little more than “saving it for the funeral“. We must remind ourselves that the currency of the weather or our clothing is not beyond emendation.
A less stimulating motivation is the recollection that constancy may equate to static behaviour. I prefer to retail this gusto as an opportunity to draw upon the local features which may have as yet escaped pioneering. The interpretation does at least afford the occasion for modest enquiry while capturing the favoured elements of travel, distance, new environment and nature. Too often we choose to “get on our horse and ride off in all directions” as though kerfuffle and commotion somehow enhance the experience. Yet we as regularly fail to open our eyes to what is at hand – in our own backyard so to speak. For purposes of this narrative I consider Canada (specifically the Atlantic provinces) part of the local vernacular and therefore within the ambit of rejigging.
The other reality is that repeating the same thing is not guaranteed to work. This should not come as any surprise as it requires little reflection to reinstate the simple excitement of novelty. Having studied law at Dalhousie University in Halifax in 1970 – 1973 did not succeed to acquaint me with the endless beauty and charm of Nova Scotia. I was chained to my books and student poverty. Over the years since then I have regularly fashioned my revisitation of the erstwhile seaside. In fact I confess that the attraction both narrows and strengthens with the elapse of time. Indeed if I were to be entirely candid the project is a lingering exploit which yearly increases its allure. I am spirited in this characterization by recalling the evidence of my ancient law professor Horace Reid, Dean Emeritus, who so enthusiastically revived the historical connection between Harvard Law School and Dalhousie Law School, the two oldest law schools in the western world. Neither must one neglect the legendary though nefarious commercial connection for rum running between the seaside ports of the United States of America and Canada. This geographic peculiarity hardens my own historic alliance with friends and places in the United States of America. While families on both sides of the border have come and gone in opposite directions – and continue to do so to this day – I have to admit that my primary motive is to expand the depth of my familiarity with my own country before loosing my grip.