Today, I’m wired for sound. Unstable on my feet. In want of coffee. A passenger in seat 29 of Acadian bus 15109 out of Moncton. The Bara MacNeils Traditional Album in my ears along with bus hum and nearby conversations.
The poetry reading last night at Kimberly the Studio in Moncton was a good one: Wanda O’Conner, Joe Blades & Kimberly Gautreau. Wanda’s mom and grandma, other relatives, and friends not see since camp as teenagers were there for her. White-gloved Wanda read from a new chapbook Romance & the Tidal Boar (ImPress) stapled togther upstairs in the minutes before the reading commenced Great sangria (both vegetarian and for meat-lovers). I read from Afterimage / naknadna slika (SpareTime Editions), Casemate Poems (W&O) and the 24-hour issue of New Muse of Contempt. Kimberly read selections from her two chapbooks and from new work. A nice, not too large audience, with a few good surprises for everyone :-) Believe that Lee Thompson might be posting a photo album on Facebook.
I’m Nova Scotia bound. Family bound. My sister Carol at Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, her plane soon to takeoff and fly its arc over Kingston and Montreal en route for the Robert Stanfield International Airport nearer to Truro than Halifax. Or, maybe, she’s already in the air and will land before I reach Amherst. Don’t know the departure time of her flight. Suspect that she has a car rental in her name waiting. I don’t know those details that don’t really matter.
It’s enough to know that today or tomorrow we’ll see each other for the first time in over a year. Seeing her will be good. Being able to talk in person will be great. Better than our long phone calls by me from terminal payphones when I passed through Pearson in April and June on my Alberta trips. This will be the closest thing to a family reunion we’ll have this year, though we’ll not all be together. Our youngest sister, Ruth, and her husband, Mike, don’t expected to return from their Newfoundland and Labrador trip until Sunday evening—ferries and good driving permitting. With a flight out on Monday morning, Mom suspected my two sisters will likely meet up for breakfast in Bedford. Not mine to worry about. I’ll likely see Ruth and Mike sometime next week.
The teacher seated across the aisle, with grade one and two experience, hasn’t stopped talking since she boarded the bus in Moncton. No one boarded this bus in Sackville. One person disembarked. In less than two minutes I’ll be rolling into Nova Scotia. “No honey bees on me, sir.” Most of the passengers who’d been reading earlier have put their books down for a little travellin’ sleep or window gazing. One book remains held high as we approach the Amherst exit. It with a back cover top line in bold: WHY PEOPLE BELIEVE WEIRD THINGS&@151;all in eye-catching caps. Not a question. This library-borrowed book has answers, but I’m not certain I would believe that book to have absolute answers.
A woman with seeing-eye dog and young son holding a fuzzy animal toy boards the bus. Seems hard to believe that I not seen a blind person with seeing eye dog on one of these busses before, or, if I have, I’ve forgotten about them. An older man with gauze pad between eyeglasses and left eyeball sits in the aisle seat opposite me. His good eye staring down the aisle and out the front of the bus beside the driver. Seeing the movement, vehicles overtaken and passed. Seeing the curve of the road, around lakes, up and down hills as we roll along the Trans Canada Highway for the before Truro exit for Highway 103 towards Halifax.
If I have a self-appointed role it’s to observe and document fact, fancy, and dream—all are welcome..It’s part of what I do, though I don’t know why I’m writing about myself this way in what’s not an interview or a quest-for-answers essay. Maybe it could-should become another travellin’ blog post? I’ve been busin’ the many versions of this route since 1979 [when I was going Halifax-Toronto or Toronto-Halifax those times I didn’t fly or take the train, and the bus used to go through Shubenacadie, Stewiacke, Parrsboro, Petitcodiac, Saint John, the Village of Gagetown and many places no longer stops on this route.]
I’m having that wanted coffee now, in an old Riverdale travel mug that’s been on the road just a few years. Tasty was the V8 juice also bought at the Amherst Irving while five Acadian buses gathered to exchange passengers and parcels. This bus didn’t go to Springhill or into Oxford so I can’t imagine that we’ll turn off and travel through the Wentworth Valley. There must be another bus on the run this morning that’s collecting the milk. We’re in the Cobequid Pass at the moment, before the toll booths, with that long vista of Cumberland Highlands and glimpses of the end of the Bay of Fundy before we roll downhill, turn onto the 102 and cross Salmon River: “Home of the Tidal Bore!” next stop will be Truro, then the airport [where is Carol right now?], then onto the 118 to Northend Dartmouth where Dad will be waiting with the red mini-van for the drive to Seaforth on the Eastern Shore. We roll past a long traffic jam on the other half of the divided highway caused by recap paving between Brookfield and Truro Heights.
Written 8:45-12:40 on the bus. I’m so grateful for the AC electrical outlets underneath the windows for passenger use..
T-shirt: Quod nos non necat, etaim maxime laedit
loc: Acadian bus 15109
travellin’ soundscape: The Bara MacNeils Traditional Album, Anthony Kiedis and Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium via earbuds