North Judique, Nova Scotia

Right now is a great time to travel between the U.S. and Canada because the exchange rate is about the same as the ratios of miles to kilometers, so I can calculate how much I’m spending with my speedometer dial. Very handy.

We spent two nights and at least parts of three days in Dartmouth getting Sean’s bike repaired. Dartmouth and Halifax are twin cities separated by a harbor and linked by a couple bridges; they were also the site of the Great Explosion, which I’d never even heard of before. In 1917 two ships collided in the harbor and one of them was carrying 180,000 kg of TNT; I read that the result was the largest human-made explosion prior to the atomic bomb. The blast destroyed half of Halifax and set fire to the rest, and it was capped off by a blizzard the next day.

We left Dartmouth this afternoon and rode up the southern shore, in and out of fog. We stopped for a snack and bought some roast chicken flavored potato chips; they tasted like stuffing, and were almost as good as the ketchup flavored chips.

In the evening we crossed over onto Cape Breton Island and rode up the northwest shore to North Judique for lodgings.

Behind the house is a a sweet old hayfield. It’s beautiful, it’s more garden than field: purple thistles, vetch and clover, white Queen Anne’s lace, little yellow flowers on tall thin stems, and several kinds of tall grasses, one with a head covered in delicate purple fuzz. A rabbit jumps and runs. All I can hear are the birds, the wind, and the ocean beyond the trees. I’m still buzzing from the motorcycle, still humming. It’s an aftereffect, like being on the ocean all day and then still being able to feel the waves at night; a sensory ghost. Not just the vibration, but the smells, the pound of the air, and the roar echo under my skin as traces of electricity. It’s like gently sanding the fingertips to make them more sensitive, but for the whole nervous system.

Through the trees on the far side of the field there’s a wide grassy path to the beach, lined by bushes with floppy pink flowers. There’s a shade of rose in the clay, too, and in the beach rocks which are as big and round as ostrich eggs, but maybe smoother. The sun drops and goes pink, the sky goes pink, the clouds behind me go pink.