Sunday, July 3, 2011

"I'll be a ghost for you"

Last weekend, I returned home, that is, to the home of my ancestors. Such trips, as often as I might make them, are never routine, always in their own way momentous. A small, quite momentous, often. Yet still. Going home, is, and always has been, for me, important.
It was a cold rainy weekend, cold even for Metis. Even the unseasonably cold weather on the Island could not compare. Temperatures hovered closer to freezing than to comfortable. The rain didn't help.
But the landscape down home works with the rain, quite well really. The rocky outcroppings, the steel grey water of Le Fleuve, the grey beach and greyer sky. Muted greens and blues. It all hangs together in the mist and the rain. A rainy Metis has its own stately beauty.
There is a Gothic element about the place, in the mist and in the rain. It is always there, really. It is more readily apparent in inclement weather. I am reminded both of the writing of Flannery O'Connor, Joy's wooden leg, and of Annie Proulx's Newfoundland. Canadian Gothic. There is a magic in Metis, under the surface, there.
Oddly, few seem to recognize it. I wracked my brain yesterday, trying to remember one story, just one story, that might be described as a fairy tale, concerning my ancestral home. But I could not. No trolls, or spooks, hobgoblins, changelings, or anything. Sometimes, rarely, there is talk of dreams, and some forecasting of weather with the old ways.  Rarely. Maybe the dour Scots Presbyterians who settled there in the 1800's would brook no such thing, no magic, driving it from the wilderness. Maybe the boom and bust of the hotel years distracted the locals, plunged them headlong into the 20th century, where there is little place for such things. Who knows.
There is magic there, though, and I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't just waiting for the right stories to be told, the right words to be spoken.

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