Sunday, August 18, 2013

Wet Rocks and an Amazing Work of Art

It's raining, now.
We have the same driver as yesterday.  His name is Mike, and today he's wearing a kilt.  On the way to Peggy's Cove, he tells us how lobster traps are constructed -- with two sections -- and other interesting things about lobsters.  Here, lobster is cheap and common.  Lobster is what you eat when you can't afford anything else.
By the time we get to Peggy's Cove, it is pouring.
Peggy's Cove is a straggle of little wooden houses scattered around a road that winds down to the waterfront where it ends at an enormous restaurant-cum-souvenir-shop surrounded by a parking lot.
Nobody actually knows why it is called Peggy's Cove, or who Peggy was, or even if there ever was a Peggy.
Unlike most of the surrounding area -- which was carved out by the retreating glaciers -- Peggy's Cove sits on a solid granite base, as does the lighthouse for which it is famous.  The red and white lighthouse, the massive granite cliffs and the beach below must be very picturesque when the sun is shining.  Mike tries valiantly to put a good slant on the rain, saying that it adds mystery and atmosphere to the scene.
Xingxing is intrigued by the rain.  He has never seen rain.  He keeps looking up at the sky, and trying to catch raindrops on his tongue.
There are half a dozen tour busses, and a large number of intrepid Japanese tourists with umbrellas swarming over the wet rocks that lead to the lighthouse and stopping every few steps to take photographs of one another.  There's a path down to the base of the cliffs, where there are tidal pools full of sea creatures.  But it's too wet and too crowded to tempt me.
Amazingly, there is absolutely nobody at William Degarthe's house, an unprepossessing wooden structure set down in front of a 100-foot long granite outcrop.  Degarthe was born in Finland, but came to Canada as a young man and became an important artist and sculptor.  He owned an advertising agency in Halifax, but spent summers here at Peggy's Cove.  When he was 70 years old, he decided to "do something" with the granite outcrop in back of his house.  His plan was to create a monument to Canadian fishermen and their wives and children.  Using hammers and chisels, he set to work.  Although he died before he could complete the work, its larger than life-size figures and depictions of fishermen at work and their families presents a poignant and incredibly moving picture of life here at the edge of the sea.  Under Degarthe's hands, the granite comes to life.  I find it much more impressive than the lighthouse.
When you've seen one lighthouse, you've more or less seen them all.  But Degarthe's sculpted masterpiece is utterly unique.  I linger for quite a while before making my way down the road to the restaurant and parking lot.
The time has gone so quickly.  I can't believe this is our last day!

No comments:

Post a Comment