Newfoundland 2005.3 – Twillingate

23 Twillingate Early Morn July 22
Twillingate morning stillness, July 22

Thursday, July 21: Twillingate

Drove west off the Bonavista Peninsula and then north through the Terra Nova National Park, 270 km to Boyd’s Cove and its fascinating Beothuk Interpretation Centre. It was then another 40 km to Twillingate.

Map Trin -- Twill

Boyd’s Cove

The Beothuk Interpretation Centre is a fabulous museum near the site of a Beothuk settlement that was visited by the Beothuk from as early as 800 AD until they actually occupied this safe site from 1650 until 1720. They had learned early on that the European fishermen were serious trouble and hid from them as much as they could for centuries. Dependent on fish, they were forced inland to hide, where they hunted caribou, and by the time they occupied this site, with an excellent beach and fresh water from Indian Brook there were only about 3 dozen in this group. When the fishermen left in the late fall the Beothuk would visit two of their vacated camps and collect whatever was useful, including iron objects like nails and fish hooks. This site also provided them with harbour seals, ground fish and migratory birds.

On the large, forested grounds here is a statue of Shawnadithit (1801-1829), the last Beothuk. She, her mother and sister, having endured many hardships from the surrounding British, presented themselves, the last survivors of their people and extremely sick, to a settler. They were taken and cared for in St. John’s where her mother and sister died of TB. She lived for a few more years before dying herself of TB on June 6, 1829, dying while staying in the household of a scots gentleman (a good man with an interest in her, now gone, people), who recorded whatever Shawnadithit could tell him about the Beothuk and made notes on her drawings.

The centre has many exhibits, some in full size displays, films and samples of items found on this site. The trails are also very lovely and peaceful.

Twillingate

Near Twillingate, in Durell,  we found and visited with Melvin Horwood, stylishly written up in the Globe and Mail by Julie Ovenall-Carter just before we flew from Toronto, because he regularly welcomes anyone who stops to photograph his small dock where his boats and fishing equipment, beautifully cared for, are displayed. At the end of the dock is a tiny souvenir museum.  Melvin used to have visitors kiss a cod but, due to the decline in the cod and the moratorium on the cod fishery, he was no longer permitted to fish cod, so Anita was encouraged to kiss a crab instead. She accepted, and Mr. Horwood hauled up a trap on a line by the dock, presenting it to her courteously. He was still doing this, white haired now, in 2016! Twillingate was beautiful. We drove out as far as we good to long point, where there is – guess what – an old lighthouse.

We stayed at Kelsie’s Inn. The next morning I rose before dawn to go for a walk down to the water and take some moody, glassy photos. Later we left for the long drive to the famous Gros Morne area on the west coast.

Oneness Does Not Apply To Borders

Wall of Beynac Castle in the Dordogne, France
Wall of Beynac Castle in the Dordogne, France – a border of sorts…

Very few countries today can say that they are one nation.

So many parts of our world have been screwed up by colonists creating “imaginary” boundaries that make no ethnic, linguistic or historical sense. Africa’s horrors have much to do with that.

Canada’s First Nations have been shamefully hard done by – experiencing a long, drawn out “drip drip drip” of painstaking genocide masquerading as “civilizing” missionary work combined with fraudulent treaties and the outright takeover or pollution of unceded land. Countries that simply exterminated their First Nations or chased them into neighbouring lands  stand out, but I am not sure which process is more cruel.

A Honduran child fleeing horrid local violence who ends up facing foreign persecution enroute northward to “safety” would not consider Central or North American borders imaginary.

Occasionally when one is traveling between culturally close countries with the same language the impression is received that the border is imaginary because the people seem the same and the neighbourhoods are similar. A naive visitor might make this mistake.

I remember a taxi ride in Caracas during the unrest in late 1966. Our small group – a few Canadians headed for a nightclub – was stopped. A policeman shoved a machine gun through the window and suggested, “Passaportes, por favór.” Glad we had ’em with us, like good foreigners.

In southern Ecuador in September, 1967 the group I was traveling with were forced to stay overnight in Huaquillas, a small border town, after entering from Peru. We strolled around the main square after eating supper and I took a photo of a statue dedicated to the Friendship of the People of Ecuador and Peru. Apparently there had been a “falling out” and a policeman took my camera, removing the film. Luckily I got the camera back.

These are minor things beside the very real problems people displaced (by those who disregard borders and land rights) and people-on-arbitrary-lists have, but they point out that borders (even arbitrary ones) exist and are something with which one should not trifle.

Or romanticize.

One Planet

Planet Earth Photo, courtesy of Wikipedia
Planet Earth Photo, courtesy of Wikipedia

In 1983 I wrote One Planet. It was during the height of the Cold War and addressed the immediate and long term risks that the extremely profitable arms race was creating for Planet Earth and, by extention, Homo sapiens.

Now the risks are multifaceted and include many other threats, such as for example, the chemical and mechanical ruination of our environment for extremely short-sighted corporate goals. The arms race continues apace and the wars of scarcity have begun. Agribusiness and the extraction of fossil fuels and minerals have caused pollution and population displacement to an unprecedented degree.

There are far fewer toe holds available for those of us who continue to grapple for hope, but there is no choice but to “keep the faith.”

One Planet will also be up on the My Songs page.