Friday, February 27, 2009

One thin line, through a land so wild and savage

Just a quick update... the weather in Newfoundland was not cooperative and out of five days in the province, I got to spend about six hours over two days with my family. I did get out to see them on Saturday, but by Saturday night forecasts showed another storm hitting on Monday. That meant I'd need to get back to St. John's on Sunday before it hit or risk a) being stranded and missing my flight; or b) having to drive back in bad weather. Really bad weather.

You see, as I mentioned, there is just one small two-lane road leading to my parents' town; "one warm line, through a land so wild and savage"; and along much of it the landscape in winter looks like this.

Such landscapes in Newfoundland are known as 'barrens', for reasons which need no explanation...

Add regular gale-force winds (it's a peninsula in the Atlantic Ocean after all) and even a little snow turns into a white-out nightmare for scores of kilometres on end.

In fact, once or twice during the winter, drifting will close the highway altogether for a day or more. The worst time I remember is from my teens (it may have been the winter the Ocean Ranger - the largest oil rig in the world at the time - capsized). The road was closed for a week or more, and I remember the little local grocery store was getting mighty low on provisions before the plows managed to get the road opened up again.

So back I went on Sunday.

It doesn't matter. I went to see my parents and my sister, and to hug them, and tell them I love them. And while doing that was a challenge, I did it.

The rest is details.

ronnie

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2 Comments:

Blogger Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

I can see where a storm blowing up on that highway could be frightening. I know it must have warmed their hearts that you darted in, between weather events.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Xtreme English said...

that looks and sounds SO much like north dakota, which is thousands of miles from the sea in any direction. whatever else it is, it's cleansing and spare and weirdly beautiful. thanks for sharing this visit.

11:40 PM  

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