The sun finally came out today and it was a beautiful day to be outside. With all the rain of the past few days, a full moon and higher than normal tides, I decided it would be a good day to revisit the tidal bore at Truro. I was not disappointed.
There were about twenty people relaxing on the riverbank when I arrived. One man had wandered down to the bend in the river and suddenly he shouted “here it comes!”. With a rush and a roar, a wall of water came upstream like a tidal wave. The white-capped wave was only a couple of feet tall, but the force of the water was so strong that it sounded like a waterfall. It completely overpowered the river, rolling over top of the outgoing water, rapidly raising the water level and sending sea birds scrambling for higher ground. Within 20 minutes the water in the river had risen over 5 feet and continued to rise.
This tidal bore was very different from the one I saw on my first outing. That one came on a new moon with a lower tide ~ kind of “wimpy” in comparison to this one. But each was amazing in its own way. While the first made it easier to see the change in the river’s flow, this one better demonstrated the power of the Fundy tides. I’m grateful that I had the chance to witness both.
I left the river and headed over to the Glooscap Heritage Center to learn more about the Mi’kmaq ~ Nova Scotia’s native people. Although there are a couple of other Indian nations around, the Mi’kmaq were the predominant culture in this area and their heritage can be traced back almost 4,000 years. The central figure in many of their creation and culture stories is Glooscap ~ a larger-than-life figure who is said to possess great wisdom and the ability to control the elements of nature. One of the stories that I have heard repeatedly is that the Minas Basin was his beaver pond. One day he got into an argument with Beaver because he was trying to dam up the Basin. In a fit of anger, Glooscap threw a large clod of dirt at Beaver. It broke into pieces and that is how the Five Islands were created. Many such stories abound and all can be linked to major geological and climatic events that actually occurred in history.
After viewing a film, I was escorted through the center by a member of the Mi’kmaq tribe who explained their culture and history in more detail. Exhibits included examples of beautiful bead work and decorative items made from porcupine quills. An antique 18th century chair with an elaborate quill-work cushion was found in England and returned to the Centre for display. Like the Native Americans in the U.S., the Mi’kmaq are in danger of losing the craft skills and language of their people and are actively working with the younger generations to keep their culture alive. Some are using contemporary art forms to share their story and others are still practicing older skills. Examples in the museum included a totem pole made from a birch tree trunk. Although the Mi’kmaq do not use totems in their culture, the artist used the totem to depict events and symbols that are important to their history and culture. Another display was a birch bark canoe that was handcrafted by an elder member of the tribe and his granddaughter, who is learning the trade. I personally hope that all of the native people are successful in preserving their heritage. Their artistry and belief in being good stewards of the earth and her natural resources would benefit us all.