131/365: St. Anthony
I’ve never been to St. Anthony before. I grew up in Newfoundland, on the island part (you know, because there’s Newfoundland and there’s Labrador, the latter being a part of the mainland of Canada, geographically) and I spent about an hour or so in the air in total to get to the northern tip of the island. The funny thing is, there isn’t much space between Labrador and the northern tip of Newfoundland, but the moment I arrived in St. Anthony, it just had the feel of Newfoundland.
It’s on the water surrounding a bay (as almost all the towns do) and there’s tons of fishing boats, there is no community design or layout of the houses or noticeable property boundaries whatsoever. I grew up in a town very similar to this one. In areas, the roads have no lines and are too small for two vehicles, they turn quickly and there are blind hills abound. If you’re not careful, and sometimes even if you are, you’ll drive down a “road” that’s actually someone’s driveway. There are plenty of docks, sea gulls are everywhere and cawing constantly, and it’s really quiet. Really quiet. You hear a scattered car drive by, the crash of waves, and the wind.
Something that sent a shutter through me was the smell of the sea. In one instant, the salty air lifts my heart. I recognize that smell immediately and unmistakeably. An instant later, I’m filled with nostalgia, and I want to be a kid again. This may be hard to explain to some people, but the sea smells different in these types of towns.
Now, Goose Bay has the ocean too, but the ocean has to travel inland a good ways (and over/through an incredible amount of sand) and I think this makes a difference. So I don’t get the same smell as I do in these coastal towns. The sea is raw and unfiltered in these towns. It’s wild and cold. On bad weather days, the sea is rough, grey and terrible. It makes me think about how truly hard a life on the sea can be. On good weather days, when the sun is shining, it’s all greens and blues. On these days you understand what draws people out to sea. I grew up around fishermen, I wasn’t one myself, but you can understand the special draw of the sea.
I guess the point of this entry is this: if the rest of this trip turns out to be total crap, at least I got to smell and look on the sea the way I remember it, and grew up with, for the first seventeen years or so of my life. It was a nice surprise, that smell. I almost forgot it, but as I think about it now, I don’t think that’s possible.
Anyway, it’s all very nice, but I’d rather be where ever my wife is. 🙂