Hint: If you don’t get it, check the rollover tag for a clue.
The evening after our candlelight graveyard tour, E.g. and I decided to visit Fort Anne again. It was a calm, cloudless evening. With the fort and its adjacent Garrison Cemetery practically across the street from our B&B, we stepped back to our room after supper for jackets and cameras. I pocketed the key and adjusted the camera bag on my belt.
“Wait for me, E.g.!”
There it is.
Much of the graveyard above ground is simply lawn, because before the 1700s, Nova Scotian graves were marked with biodegradable wooden crosses. There are no early French-Canadian tombstones here; the earliest one is that of an Anglo woman from 1720, ten years after the English took the Fort from the French and refused to return it.
In those early times, headstones were carved by Bostonians. Maybe the Puritan influence still hung heavy, because the adornment was usually a death’s head with wings. Here are two examples:
Worthy of gracing any Harley, n’est-ce pas?
As time went on, some mourners preferred kinder, gentler imagery, especially if the lyething body was that of a child.
I think the second head looks less like a flower and more like a lion.
I wish now I’d written down the history of headstone trends when our tour guide, Alan Melanson, enumerated them. He spoke of the weeping willows, the fingers pointing skyward, the seraphim and cherubim, and other symbols and their eras of favour.
You’re going to have to be satisfied with the knowledge that these are old tombstones from Canada’s earliest English graveyard. Please come and wander the grounds with me. I could use a little company…
Pointing forefinger. Sometimes they pointed to a word in a book, as perhaps this one is. “See? I told you it’s spelled with a u!”
Handclasp. Someone cared.
Victorian “weeper” or mourning band. Someone was rich.
Copperplate italics praising a mother. Someone was rich and didn’t write home enough.
A mason — whether by trade or pinky ring, I don’t know.
Weeping willow. ‘Nuff said.
Seraph. “Aw, pipe down already. That bugling is enough to wake the dead!”
Finally, it was too dark to stay any longer. E.g. passed through the turnstile, patting her pocket, reassuring herself that the key was in it. She gave one final, wistful glance at the graveyard, and headed for the B&B.
“Wait for me, E.g.! E.g.? Hello, E.g. …”
…’cause I didn’t get many good photos. Many photos, yes; many good ones, no.
If I could lightly touch on “What Was Nova Scotia?”, using the best of the rest (except for one last thematic post tomorrow), what would I say? What, to me, was my experience of Nova Scotia?
It was a view of the Annapolis Valley’s famed farmland.
It was enthusiastic quick-change actors at Grand-Pré, recounting early Acadian life.
It was a university facility dedicated to native plants.
It was a peek into the pottagers of early French settlers.
It was meeting E.g.’s childhood school chum and his husband, recounting their still-fresh dreams for an ancient homestead.
It was carrying candles in lanterns of glass, wood, and wire.
It was the most fought-over piece of land in North American history, now a grass-covered park.
And…it was relaxing over good meals.
It was a vacation. It was worth the 37-year wait.
For the lastest, finalest post on our trip to Nova Scotia, you can vote for:
A. carvings on the tops of old grave markers, or
B. our folk-art souvenirs.
Please vote in the comments section. If there’s a tie (or great groveling on behalf of one subject or the other), I’ll post a few of each.
(This oughta be interesting.)
The 8-km hike along Nova Scotia’s Blomidon Peninsula to Cape Split goes mostly through woods, to an open, grassy promontory. The tip of the peninsula has been split off by the waves. If it’s sunny, you’ll be rewarded with great views of the split piece, some other rocky bits, and the waters of the Minas Basin. If it’s foggy, sit down on the grass with your packed lunch and wait half an hour.
Except for a rough bouldery bit for the first/final ten minutes, the trail is easy underfoot and fairly level. The hike should take about two hours each way, if you don’t keep stopping every twenty feet to aim a camera or a pair of binocs. (We took three hours on the way to the promontory.)
The woods were alive with songbirds, and the split-off chunk of land resounds with a colony of Black-backed Gulls. They’re our country’s largest gull; maybe that explains why they claimed the top of the broken chunk while the Herring Gulls nested on the cliff faces.
To help convey my impression of the bursting, bustling life along this trail, I’ve defaced added some text on each photo below. I hope you enjoy it.
PS If you’d like to see a photo of the entire, eponymous split-off chunk of Cape Split, please check out the post cards that Flat Tony sent to 3-D Tony, by clicking here.