The following reflections are based on a recent vacation at a friend’s summer home in Upper Island Cove, Newfoundland:
THE AVALON PENINSULA
Craggy granite cliffs,
fossilized, moss-cloaked cathedrals,
draped in mottled orange and green garments,
immovable, amid moody seas.
Swirling seabirds, graceful guardians,
keep watch over ocean giants
whirling, reveling, gorging
in crystal waters below,
oblivious to the wonder
and chatter of gaping tourists.
Islanders, hardy, song and soul-filled,
ruddy faces etched, with toil, sweat, tears,
stained and strengthened by a callous climate,
bound to blood lines stretching back
over two thousand years. I wonder . . .
Was Eden like that?
by Michael G. Redfearn
We like to say that God made the world in six days and on the seventh day
He rested in Upper Island Cove. – Upper Island Cove Resident
Newfoundland & Labrador, maybe it’s time you came home for a visit.
– Slogan from a Newfoundland & Labrador TV commercial
As stunning as they are, Newfoundland is more breathtakingly beautiful than its superb TV tourism promos can possibly begin to convey. The rugged coastline: chiseled, orange moss on ancient rock cliffs, dazzling deep blue-aquamarine ocean, foamy waves and cool brisk winds . . . only truly awaken and enliven the spirit when captured through all the senses.
Hospitality is the practice of God’s welcome by reaching across difference to participate in God’s actions bringing justice and healing to our world in crisis.
― Letty M. Russell
Newfoundlander hospitality is legendary. Thousands of mainlanders stranded on the ‘rock’ on September 11, 2001 can attest to this fact. Islanders in small coastal communities really do leave their doors unlocked and unreservedly welcome visitors with open hearts and arms into their homes. My wife and I witnessed this incredible hospitality first hand. While on walks during our stay we received kind offers from residents of Upper Island Cove to “come on over anytime for tea”.
We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came. – John F. Kennedy
Nothing quite calms the soul or soothes the spirit like an expansive, picturesque seascape, a walk along a winding trail, a glimpse of frolicking whales amid the ocean waves or seabirds soaring in mid-flight.
Nature trails abound on the Avalon Peninsula. Two such trails (Mad Rock Trail near Bay Roberts, Signal Hill Trail near St. John’s) provide their own unique natural vistas.
There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after the winter. Rachel Carson
Sometimes, the simple contours and colors of a rock or flash of a whale’s tail can stir something deep within us . . . connecting us to a profound eternal truth and timeless reality . . . beyond words.
Photos by Michael Redfearn