Thursday, August 04, 2016

Notes, Roots and Red Dirt

The door knocker at Inn the Elms in Pugwash.
In less than two months, the Field Notes book (a collection of essays) will be published by Nimbus. To use the Cumberland County vernacular I learned in the 1980's, I'm some excited! 
Over on my Facebook page (JewellofaWriter), I'm counting down to Pub Day by posting a quote and a photo from each essay every day, except weekends.
So the first day with the introductory essay, I had a dilemma: I couldn't decide which quote to use!
Then I realized that there is a line in the following quote that relates to my Field Notes column published yesterday. Both MP Scott Brison, in the radio interview, and Gail Simmons, the subject of my column, talked about having families that date back in Nova Scotia to the 1770's. Since I actually mention that date in my introduction -- an essay I wrote the first draft of in 2014 -- I solved my dilemma by deciding to post that quote and the corresponding photo here.

By asking, “Where is she from?” the person will be hoping to receive some kind of information to help place me in the giant family tree that is Nova Scotia. The answer will prove unhelpful: “She’s from Ontario.” I am a mystery woman without a past, without a local family, and without roots everyone has been tripping over for at least five generations. But here is a lineage here for my family. We may not be able to claim multiple generations on the same land or a homestead dating back to the 1700s, but we did put down roots. They run close to the surface but they are there, eagerly grasping for a hold in this red soil.

I know. I’ve been cleaning that dirt off the bottom of my father’s car since I was nine years old.

From "One Hundred Thousand Welcomes", the introductory essay in "Field Notes: A City Girl's Search for Heart & Home in Rural Nova Scotia," to be published September 30. 

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