Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Friday August 28, 1998 - Nova Scotia


Grand Etang - sunny.

Geoff and RL got up and left early to work at Schooner Village, I got up later and had a shower and then the last of my yogurt and granola for breakfast. Then I drove to Schooner Village and had a second breakfast of scone and devonshire cream and jam and coffee. Again, RL and I yakked about this that and t'other thing in the kitchen.

In the afternoon I drove up the coast to see Gampo Abbey, the Buddhist monastery, and to drop in at the Cape Breton Highlands National Park to see if David was around. That's where he worked in the summertime, and I didn't know if Myrtle had contacted him or not. At the Park office I was told that he had checked in but wasn't around right now; I thought I'd come back later to try again.

I continued up the coast to the Abbey which is about as far north as you can go on the west coast of Cape Breton. I turned off the Cabot Trail at Pleasant Bay onto the Red River road to Gampo Abbey. My Wolfville friend Carolyn had visited there and highly recommended it, but RL told me that if they were on retreat at the Abbey they wouldn't accept visitors.


It was a nice drive to get there along a dirt road up the coast, and when I arrived at the gate to the property there was a sign saying that public tours were conducted at 3.00pm. I arrived at 3.25pm and saw a few people working outside the main building, and a large bull moose calmy eating tree leaves at the edge of the front yard. I asked a woman inside the front door of the main building about the tour, and she went to find someone to escort me. But she didn't find anyone and suggested I look around on my own. I got the impression that didn't mean inside.

I looked around the grounds a bit. There was a meditation space on a grass-topped cliff overlooking the ocean, and near where the bull moose had been (he was gone now) a sign saying "bonsai". I walked in the direction that the sign pointed and came upon a fox who was startled by my arrival and hissed and growled as he ran past me. Scared both of us.

I was expecting to come upon a bonsai garden but it was actually just a working area with a few small trees being "bonsai-ed". When I cam out, the fox was sitting at the top of the path watching me. He trotted off up the road and sat down again facing me and scratched his ear. Since my truck was parked in that direction I continued to walk toward the fox; it got up and moved a little further along and sat down again. Eventually it trotted off into the woods. It was about the same size as Yohan, very skinny with a big bushy tail. As I drove away from the Abbey I saw a cow moose on the side of the road by an upturned dory.

I returned to the Park office to see if I could catch David, he still wasn't there. I went to look in the bookstore and a few minutes later the woman at the office called out to me that David was back. He was just on his way out of the building so I went out to meet him. I don't think he recognized me at first, then he did and seemed happy to see me. Since the last time I saw him he has cut his hair and grown a beard so he looks a bit like a bald Papa Hemingway.

David invited me to have dinner with him at a nearby restaurant. After dinner and a beer he collected a few things from the office and we drove to a cabin on the shore that he had helped to build and had the occasional use of. It was small but quite handsome, with lots of windows and a small sleeping loft. It was set in a field overlooking a stoney beach with the highlands behind it. The windows faced the ocean and it had a big mermaid painted on its roof.


David invited me to spend the night but first he had to go back to the park to put on an evening show for the campers, I agreed and drove back to Margarell Harbour to tell Geoff and RL what I was up to. As it turned out they were in Cheticamp, which I had just driven through, doing some shopping, so I hung out at the Schooner with Myrtle awaiting their return. When I saw Geoff and RL's car crossing the Margaree Harbour bridge I followed them home and told them about my meeting with David. They thought that was fine but not to talk too much about it with Myrtle since they thought it best not to feed the local gossip mill.


I picked up a couple of things and returned to the cabin and David and I had a nice time.

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