Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Reality check

May-20th 08

It’s only May 20th and already things are looking up for tourists. We have two couples staying with us and again they are from California.

So as usual, rather than getting in Martine’s way in the morning I take a trip out on the water. It is so nice not to have to slide over ice and snow to get into the kayak.

There are times in life, when it seems one takes a step forward and two steps back, and today that was the case.

I had passed one of my favorite little islands, and noticed that it was different. It was different all right, but only superficially. The top portion of the island had been cut down as if a tornado had passed through and snatched up the whole thing, just leaving a few straggly branches sticking up from its crown, much like that of an old man's balding head, that had just had its cap blown off..

One would say that it’s all relative, and it is I suppose, but why so bold or bald I ask?

What is it about people that causes them to be so selfish that they would cut every stick down on a little island, when the coast is littered with fair sized trees, not to mention that it only costs $10 to get a permit to cut enough wood for the winter in over the road!

Now I have to give an explanation to my kayaking guest as to why the islands have been stripped of their trees.

I will have to fabricate some story about how folks are hurting around these parts, and how the cost of oil has sky-rocketed, and that in order to survive we have to resort to cutting every bough and stick that is within 10 minutes steam.

One of the first things that had inspired me upon my return to Newfoundland, was how the trees were coming back on the islands, and how nice and refreshing it was to see the hillsides covered with evergreens again. It brought pride to my heart and caused me to be reminded of the words in the Ode to Newfoundland, "Our pine-clad hills".

One would assume, that over the years, with oil and electricity being inexpensive or reasonably priced, you could heat your home, and you didn’t have to go hungry; now it’s a choice, oil, wood or food.

Now it is coming back around again. Just when I thought tourism would be a viable means of sustenance, along comes the desperate and inconsiderate once again to decimate the landscape.

It’s not as if we don’t have electricity or that wood isn’t readily available, it is just thoughtless harvesting of our islands' trees, and lack of consideration for nature and the beauty around us. It could be harvested with style and a little more discretion if you ask me, but who’s asking?

So needless to say I didn’t stay on the surf long this morning, so as promised, I would come back and take our guests to the museum.

My mistake, or was it?

Great folks, and lots of compliments about our collections, and how things were displayed. A lot of questions were fired my way, and most of the time I was able to land on my feet with a good answer, or one that fitted.

But the question as to why we were selling T-shirts with I "Club baby seals" on them left me in a tail spin.

I had to explain that they were purchased, for re-sale, in order to promote the harvesting of seals as being Green or part of our conservation mythology here in Newfoundland.

In order for the cod fishery to return, we had to kill seals as they are eating all the cod.

You know everything today has a political agenda, and what used to be a normal and healthy means of living, and in harmony with the sea and the land has been exploited by big business, and yes those on both sides of the seal-harvesting issue.

Personally I am of two minds and like the song “I looked at life from both sides now” I too can see and even try and understand both perspectives on the issues.

After a lengthly discussion on the ins and outs of the seal hunt and the upcoming American elections, the guests are on the ferry and the key to the museum is hanging at the Inn.

As for the trees and the seals, well that’s a story for another day.

All things will come out in the wash!

Another day at Dorim’s Wharf!

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