Small town revival: Bear River drenched with culture
Last weekend, the major Halifax newspaper “Chronicle Herald” ran a piece on Bear River and I was interviewed!
The series about small town revival in Nova Scotia highlighted 3 villages. Bear River’s article focused on culture. Publicity about the village brings summer visitors which keeps the restaurants, shops, wineries and studios going.
Apparently the popularity of this blog was the main reason for writer Bill Spurr and photographer Ryan Taplin visiting our studio. Even though I have scaled back my blog posts, I still get letters from people who are searching for a place to land in Nova Scotia and want to bounce it off someone who has made that transition. It feels like an impossible responsibly because without a crystal ball how can I guess what will work for some, and not for others?
Because really, this blog is our story about why Bear River works for us.
Is living here wonderful and exciting every moment? Of course not. But I’ve learned that how I spend my time determines my level of satisfaction.
On a good day, on a brilliant weather day, I step out the door to the sounds of birds and the feel of a breeze on my arms. The air smells fresh. The wind moves the wildflowers in the meadow in rhythmic ways. I walk over to the pond to watch dragonflies buzzing over the surface of the water which is broken into patterns from the frenzied activity of the insect skimmers. Walking past the perennial border I see a new purple japanese iris is in bloom and then I smell the fragrance of the mock orange blossoms. All of this and I haven’t even left home.
I make a cup of tea, poured into a handmade-by-a-local-potter mug and walk across the grass to the studio where we have a small display/sales area for visitors. I usually have at least 3 paintings on the go and I take a look at them and one of them will whisper to me “paint me…..I need a little bit of sunny yellow or more blooms or a deeper sky”….
I set up my bug-free tent outside along with the paints and rags and brushes and canvas and get to work. Believe me, this is bliss.
I take a break and if I’m facing the garden, walk over and pull out some weeds. And all along I feel like I am so fortunate to have this precious time, surrounded by beauty with a wonderful, supportive partner and a handful of caring friends. And I notice that I am smiling and loving life.
On a bad day, I can’t get focused, I waste time on the internet, I procrastinate, I stay up too late, there is too much laundry to do, and the rain makes me feel fuzzy headed. It’s on those days that I imagine if I lived in a big city again, there would be ‘things to do’. I could go to a large art gallery, eat exotic food, walk on a sidewalk, be among lots of interesting people, audit a university course, use public transit. But on those days, I cut myself some slack. I know the feelings of wanting more will pass. I know tomorrow will be a chance to reframe life.
The article in the Chronicle Herald is a good snapshot of the perceptions of some of us who chose to live in this village. It’s not just about culture. It’s about connecting with the people here and having time, space, fresh air to grow.
It took Larry and me over 30 years to find Nova Scotia and I have to say it was well worth the wait.