(from a journal entry, May 8, 2017)
There are only two places on earth, Newfoundland and everywhere else. The Geo Centre in St. John’s says that Newfoundland has the oldest rocks in the world, which could only be evidence that this is the place where God stood when He created all the rest. I quipped, “Is that why coming here felt like getting closer to God?” The response was a curt “Acurse it did. Will y’ave ‘nother touton?”
Is it too much to suggest that this island reaches all the way around the world? It has a pull of sorts, a gravity, that holds its own close and somehow draws others in. Justice, the taxi driver that brought me to the airport this morning, is originally from Nigeria. He’s a young man who’s lived in Newfoundland for the last four years.
“How do you like it?” I asked him. He answered, “The best four years of my life.”
My hosts, Tim and Krista, have spent time in other places, but they both have roots here and in this season they find themselves back home. This is a familiar story that I’ve heard seven or eight times in a few days. What Newfoundland holds, it doesn’t give up easily.
It seems that there are also only two kinds of people on earth. You’re from Newfoundland or you’ve “come from away” and from everything I’ve experienced, being a “come from away” only means that you’re not from Newfoundland yet.
It’s not easy to get to Newfoundland and it’s even harder to leave. If it’s not the heavy Atlantic fog in St. John’s that keeps you on “The Rock”, it’s the place itself or its people. At least you can see the fog and sense the hold it takes and when it lifts. The hold of the people is much stronger and much more subtle. One way or another, you do not leave Newfoundland the way you arrived. You take a bit of it with you and it keeps something of you in return. You’ll never get it back. Try as you might, that’s not why you want to come back as soon as you leave. You want to come back because it has you now.
I hope I get the chance. I left a fleece in Gander.