100 Letter Cornwall Competition – Mary Anne Pankhurst South Glengarry, Ontario – January 20, 2013
The day I moved from Montreal to Cornwall – on an icy blue November day – I had just gassed up at MacEwen’s on Boundary and was struggling to get the seatbelt around my big fat Michelin Man-style coat, when I finally gave up. Not only was the Beetle packed to the ceiling, I had a Chihuahua on my lap. So I reasoned: the new house is only minutes away, and besides, my shoulder is killing me.
But before you could say, “I’ll have a large double-double in a double cup,” I got busted. He was a very courteous OPP officer. Handsome even. ”You drive safely now, Ma’am,” he said, handing me the ticket. “And welcome to Cornwall.”
Ten minutes later – walking through the front door of our new home – I got stopped again. This time by the husband who was telling me the movers lost our couch.
But later that night, as I dashed out to fetch something from the Bug, I stopped myself and marveled. Except for geese honking in the distance, it was overwhelmingly quiet. Peaceful. Dark. And the only ambient light came from stars twinkling in the Glen Walter heavens.
Little did I know, the magic was just beginning.
By spring, I was accustomed to seeing coyotes, foxes, deer, ducks, osprey, woodpeckers and Great Blue Herons. By summer, I knew the thrill of giant egg-laying snapping turtles and otters only meters from my kitchen door. Smoothly moving cargo ships were forever passing, as well as legions of motorcycles rumbling along the water’s edge on sunny Sunday afternoons.
I’ve come to know well the mighty seaway winds that bounce off the distant Adirondacks and come back to make our hats fly. Guindon, Cooper Marsh and Charlottenburgh Park have all become favourite walking places. Sacred places. Especially at dawn when the river mists put on their best show. And on days I drive into town, I love the bridge that rises up like a giant artwork of dinosaur bones, the church bells that clang, and the silent stony skeletons of the old cotton mills.
Seven years have passed in a flash. But at every spot that sparkles, live memories – not only of nature – of helpful, fun and interesting friends.
To them I say, thank you for making Cornwall feel like home.
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