I think it is the sunset’s I miss the most. The “crimson horizon”, as Stan Rogers wrote in his song “Make and Break Harbour”. After a peaceful day along the seashore, a swim in the warmest waters north of the Carolina’s and dinner with assorted family members, children and cousins, we settle back in our chairs and watch the sun sink down over the tranquil Northumberland Strait. And just over that horizon, we have no doubt that thousands of Prince Edward Islanders were likely doing the same along their north shore.
A few times, this peace and tranquility was shared by the soulful sounds of a bagpipe, carried over the water to cabins and cottages along the shore. Numerous times, cottagers would ask me “who was that playing the pipes the other night?” I don’t think many believed me when I said it was my six-year old daughter. Of course many of them had seen me on parade the week before; a returning son, proudly marching down West and Main Street in Antigonish with the Clan Thompson Pipe Band, nodding to friends and family along the route, and sharing a drink or two in the beer tent at the Antigonish Highland Games in the evening.
My annual pilgrimage is now over, and it’s back out West to raising city children, work and life duties. But when the cold winter winds blow, the snow swirls and the darkness descends on our land, I, my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews will think about those sunsets, and the glorious days along the Nova Scotia sea shore where barefoot children play, the rabbits and foxes dart in and around the stunted spruce trees, the robins sing and the hot sand stings. It is these thoughts and memories that will sustain us until we all return to share our summer together again at our cottages along the coast of New Scotland’s Northumberland Strait.