We walked through the tunnel of trees, our feet crunching on the fallen leaves and stepping over the occasional big branch that the windstorm had brought down. The path opened into a perfect clearing with a fire pit, picnic tables and those classic red adirondack chairs that identified this park as one of Canada’s national treasures.
The girls immediately skipped down to the beach saying how much they remember this place and it’s their absolute favourite. This was after a whole van ride of ‘where are we going?’ ‘why are we in the van?’ and ‘can I have a snack?’.
I immediately spread our quilt on the forest floor, letting Kieran play with a big stick and soaked in the glorious Autumn light. We packed it all in that day- picking out pumpkins to carve, stocking up on squashes and pears and fish from our favourite farm market. We took a hayride under towering yellow trees winding around an apple orchard and then we filled bags full of apples. Cortland, Macintosh and Ida Red. We just grabbed a handful of Ida Red because after my eldest and I taste tested them, we decided not to fill a whole bag of this variety despite how much I love the name.
This is our fourth year of picking apples and pumpkins in the pastoral Annapolis Valley, savouring Autumn’s goodness before the chill of the winter comes. Our fourth year of making new traditions in a new province with new friends. Our fourth year of sending pictures of our holiday celebrations back to our families in the West and saying good night as they dish out pie.
As recent as this past spring, we entertained ideas of moving back to where our families live. We only ever intended to be in Nova Scotia for a couple years. Jared was going to get his music degree, win an audition and we were going to move, our time in Nova Scotia being an unforgettable experience. Life happened and circumstances were different then what we anticipated, we’ve bought a house and a business. We have friends who feel like family and a wonderful church community.
We had friends over for dinner a couple weeks ago, long time friends from the West on a Maritime getaway week. We swapped stories about children and work and marriage, catching up and digging in as best as we could in a few hours over a spaghetti dinner and pear tart. As we waved them off, I realized that Nova Scotia had become home.
We’re rooted here in ways we never have been before. Our children won’t know any difference in their Atlantic experience where looking for shells and wearing rubber boots is normal. It’s a surprising realization. I never dreamed of calling Nova Scotia home but now that I do, it feels right. Some days the distance from our families feels very far and it’s so hard, but most days I’m grateful for technology to share snippets of life with those we love.
We watched the sun go down at the lake, bathing the trees with a last golden light, the evergreens showing their sharp silhouette against the evening sky. The harvest moon beckoned us as we drove around the windy roads, becoming like a treasure to hunt for as soon as the trees cleared, all of us gasping when we saw its’ huge, orange colour.
Until next year, rich Autumn.
Tell me about your traditions, what makes them special to you and how do you celebrate the seasons?