I hear an island of choristers singing “we coulda told ya, b’y.” Moving from Western Newfoundland to Kingston, Ontario 16 months ago, and I, well, have some perspective on travel and place: I miss Newfoundland.
Now, before we get all weepy here and break into song about the glories of Terre Neuve, I feel like the less-sentimental, and more pragmatic side of me has something to say: namely, that there are certain things I do not miss: hurricane season, losing power for days on end and the lonely isolation of winter being the top three. I think we can all agree on those.
I do, however, miss the beautiful autumn of the Humber Valley.
I miss the small but honest farmer’s market, where you can find jam, Newfoundland honey, and the season’s best vegetables at honest and fair prices.
I miss the landscape. The sea, the rough hills. I also miss hikes and walks followed by Jiggs dinner.
Well, I miss the idea of Jiggs dinner. I don’t actually miss cabbage hash and pease pudding — let’s be honest.
I miss having the time to run on Corner Brook’s steam trail. Even though my mind doesn’t miss all the hills and stairs, my body definitely misses the range of running terrain.
I miss the lovely ladies who work at the library. I miss their weekly phone calls to let me know a new book came in, or the latest issue of Food & Wine arrived. I miss the view from the stacks.
And I miss the architecture: Salt-box style houses, bright colors, and well-built designs with cozy nooks to read, write and hunker down (during hurricane season and snow-storms, of course).
But most of all, I miss the adventure in cooking. Perhaps it’s autumn, when the weather cools down long enough to turn on the oven and prepare a roast, perhaps it’s that delight of coming across a new menu with local ingredients, or perhaps it’s knowing just how difficult it is to find certain items elsewhere…like moose.
On the island, and in Corner Brook in particular, sometimes you just have to try harder to find the missing ingredient to make the meal you crave. It’s not about going out for dinner at that special new place in town — it’s about making your own place — and meals — special. Corner Brookers do that really well.
And there is something equally special about living within limits. It, ironically, expands you. It makes you more creative, more innovative. And, of course, grateful.
So, for any Corner Brookers out there who somehow come across this love letter for Newfoundland, or if you’re an ex-pat who misses home once in a while, I say this: enjoy where you are and what it has to offer. And know that one lowly Newfoundland visitor understands — and misses — how incomparable Corner Brook really is.
(Would you like to see a little of what I’ve been up to lately? Visit me at my new home, here, and feel free to drop me a line to say hi)