Day 3 has been, you guessed it, another day of driving!! 

I left Fredericton NB at 8am and drove through to Sydney NS arriving mid-afternoon.  It rained most of the time through Nova Scotia, but it didn’t stop me from noticing that I was in a special part of the country.  Nova Scotia, much like New Brunswick, is a great place to go if you don’t want to see people.  It’s miles and miles of highways hint at settlements, yet rarely dissect them, leaving one feeling a little detached from human contact.  But that is okay, because what it gives you in return is an unspoiled beauty that is the way it is because people have let it be. 

I have never been to Scotland, but I’m guessing there is a reason Nova Scotia is named for it.  I half expected to see grand castles or humble monasteries tucked into the spaces between the green hills and valleys.  When I stopped for food or gas, I wondered if the clerk at the desk would be wearing a kilt.  Alas, I did not see a single castle, monk or tartan. 

In the early afternoon I crossed into what is arguably the most beautiful part of Nova Scotia if not Canada, the island of Cape Breton.  I had a friend from Cape Breton who used to say you needed a passport to cross the Canso Causeway (the bridge connecting Nova Scotia with Cape Breton), a recognition that this is a unique part of our country that invites a generous pride and fierce loyalty from its citizens. And so it should.  It is a place like no other. Its untamed. Its alluring. Its glorious!   Its coastland is rugged and wild, and its views will take your breath away.  Alexander Graham Bell helped to put Cape Breton on the international map when he wrote, “I have travelled around the globe.  I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes, the Alps, and the Highlands of Scotland, but for simple beauty, Cape Breton outrivals them all.” 

You nailed it Mr. Bell!!

Nova Scotia is not just a beautiful province, it is a gateway linking Canada to the homelands from which came so many settlers, all seeking adventure and a new life.  What those who came from England and Scotland and Wales and Ireland would find in the rolling hills of Cape Breton and Nova Soctia, was something that reminded them of home.  And the names of the towns and villages reflect that nostalgic or wistful pull back to their place of origin ; New Glasgow, New London, New Scotland.      

Coming here reminds me that all have pride in the places we call home.  Nova Scotia doesn’t own beauty, but it owns its own beauty.  But so does Victoria, Moose Jaw, Winnipeg and Barrie.  Cape Bretoners love their hills and coastlines, but no more so than Saskatchewaners love their wheatfields, or Albertans love their mountains, or Torontonians love their vibrant city core.  We love the places we come from because we come from them.  For that reason, the places that we call home will always be beautiful to us because they belong to us as we belong to them.  Sometimes in life we get displaced, and we find ourselves in locations we never guessed.  What do we do?  We look for things that tie us back to the places we came from. We crave what is familiar.  Maybe it’s the hills and the valleys.  Maybe it’s the people.  Maybe its the customs or food or faith of a place.  Human beings have a need to find what is old in what is new, to stabilize us and give us security. We all need that which draws us back to the places and people that shaped us.  We all need to find our “home”.     

Today, in a way that is hard to explain, I came home.  There was something familiar to be had in New Scotland.  There was something in the rolling hills, gentle valleys and rugged coastlines that drew me back to the place within me that is familiar and comfortable and safe.