Since returning from Newfoundland I have been thinking about how to summarize my adventure.  I found it difficult to craft the words that could describe all that I experienced.  So, I did what I often do when I can’t find my own words, I reach for someone’s else’s.  I came up with this quote from the book, “The Wind In The Willows”;

“All this he saw, for one moment breathless and intense, vivid on the morning sky; and still, as he looked, he lived; and still, as he lived, he wondered.”

Newfoundland was for a me a visual experience.  While Newfoundland had a lot to offer my ears, nose and taste buds (except for the cod tongues – never again!), its allure was the freshness that it brought to my eyes.  Whether it was a sleepy fishing village tucked in the lap of a towering mountain, or the jagged coastline treasured with timid yet curious puffins, or the weatherworn lighthouse standing firm against the encroaching fog, Newfoundland offered a path to its heart through the eyes.  It is a visually stunning province.

“…as he looked, he lived….”

These past few years have left their scars and bruises, as they have for us all.  I was tired, and I knew it.  I was hurting, and I knew it.  I knew I needed “new” but I wasn’t sure what that new looked like. Now I know.  For me, the new that I needed was something that would draw my eyes to places, objects and faces that were unique and different and awakening, and by doing so, draw my heart and my spirit right along with them.  As I looked at the beauty of Newfoundland, I found life slowly begin to return to the weakened and drawn places within me, like a wave finding its way to shore.  As I traced the coast of this mighty province in my car, and climbed its trails with my feet, and received its blessing of smiling faces and hospitable spirits, I felt my shoulders drop, my breath deepen, and something that I can only describe as the untangling of a knot.  For that, I am deeply grateful.  As we sing in that well known hymn, “teach me God to wonder, teach me God to see, let your world of beauty capture me.”  Newfoundland captured me.  Newfoundland healed me.

 “…as he lived, he wondered…”

There was also something very stabilizing about Newfoundland. And I’m sure those who have gone there or lived there will agree.   It is humble and unpretentious, quirky and unpredictable, and yet confident and solid.  No wonder we call it the “the rock”.  If my eight days of wandering through this unique island had taught me anything, it taught me this – life is as complicated or as uncomplicated as we wish to make it.  I thought about that as I made my way back across to the mainland, leaving Newfoundland behind me.  Life isn’t easy in Newfoundland, I know that, in fact it can be downright difficult.  But it struck me that no one there is trying to force life to be anything than what it already is.  Perhaps that is the secret kept in its foggiest outposts, its most isolated mountaintops, and its sea painted shores, that simplicity is the door that opens to things that the soul most craves.

Anthony Bourdain, the great adventurer and write once said this, “travel changes you.  As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small.  And in return life – and travel – leaves marks on you.”

This trip was a gift for which I will always be grateful.  Newfoundland has left its mark. It invited me to look – to look up, to look out, to look around, and eventually to look within.  One of the Vikings who first landed on its shores nearly 1000 years ago was purported to have said, “there is life beyond what we know”.  There is indeed.  Thank you Newfoundland!!