By John Pitcher (1968)

As they sat there on the hill in late August after a wet but warm summer, they could clearly see the harbour and the oval beaches below the spruce bent edge of the garnet cliffs of Merasheen Island. In spite of the towering banks of scattered fog to the south, fall would soon be here to flatten the weathering hay that showed some

tangled strands of grey. Here in this place amidst the warm and cold, its people acknowledged nature’s sweet and cruel indifference. Here on the Island, its people witnessed the treachery and the bounty of a strange human paradox of love and worry. It was here on Merasheen Island, that very day two friends met to say goodbye.

It would be his father’s last trip to the “Merishen” banks. Everyone is starting to leave now and there is not much anyone can do about it. Mary felt the damp grass now drying by the morning’s sun. She removed her home-knit sweater that her mother had given her Christmas past. Along the granite cliffs towering above the beach, two seagulls swooped downward, one after the other, until they caught the updraft of the harbour and then together moved out toward the narrows. On the edge of the cliff were clusters of fragile, swaying bluebells - a picturesque sight that only an artist could master. Grey rock dye flats were planted in a woven artistry of reddening berry heath around a wind-carved wooden stump.

They both looked frail in this rugged place. Grim at that moment, they were still somewhat contented with the simplicity, fullness and splendor of home but, they knew that everything was about to change too. They were about to become uprooted –thorn from everything they loved. Neither could understand why such a relocation was actually about to occur and worse, they may never walk together again on the banks and beaches of Merasheen.

Not realizing that more than an hour had elapsed, the air had cooled. Mary pulled her sweater around her shoulders while the shifting wind turned the ocean’s damp breath upon them. He offered the comfort of his jacket only to realize that his offer of warmth would also have to carry some deeper commitment of a more meaningful way of joining her in a different community, if possible. At a young age and with so much uncertainty, how was this to happen. This meeting was their final hope for some solution or promise but, each option seemed exhaustible and for the most part was out of their control anyway.

A thick blanket of fog rolled around the cliffs and began to gradually block the bit of precious sun. A sudden change of fog, common to the Island gradually blanketed the bay ascending around the rocky beach below the clefts of wind- swept spruce. Without a goodbye and without looking in his direction again, Mary ran away from what seemed to be the bleakest, barren spot they once loved. She hurried down the narrow gravel path, across the wharf, and on the parting boat with her family. He wanted to call out but could not. He turned away until he heard the sound the boat’s engine echoing off the cliffs. He waited until he could no more hear the boat motor – then silence overtook him.

He did not realize how long he sat there. He glances at his father’s house with boarded up windows and the punt moored at the wharf. Somehow, someway, he would try to make it back home again. He walked out on the wharf. He heard someone calling him. A kind familiar voice; one he obeyed since birth and one that always brought him back to reality…

“Come on now my son, 

there's work to be done,”

Said his comforting father.

“We’ve got to get those nets

out of the water.”