An interesting fact on the area of old Acadia. Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island - areas populated widely by original Acadians - have more nongenarians (90+) per capita than any place in the world. Researchers have suggested that this is from a single Acadian common gene from hundreds of years ago.
I think it's because they grew up with very little, had to work hard every day, lived through two wars and a depression and had to find joy whenever and wherever they could. But I digress.
This post is about my discovery.
When I started writing Tintamarre I started digging around the area: Beaubassin (the old settlement), Fort Beausejour and Fort Lawrence. While I played in the fort when I was a child, it wasn't to search the history.
I wanted to feel the damp wind on my face the way the people of the time did. To walk across the fields in places they did (but in rubber boots not wooden shoes). Geoff Harding of Ducks Unlimited allowed me to wander around the old Villiers Island site and directed me to the old dykes.
The dykes blocking the bay from the marshes was built more than 350 years ago and they still hold the muddy water back. Pretty good engineers those Acadians. They developed a means of having tide water go out but not come back in.
The dykes are not within the boundary of the National Park.
I walked out to the very edge and felt the place. I wandered around a little, went out on a little promontory and noticed something stuck in the soil. I kneeled and picked around the items. They were reddish brown and smooth and I picked them out of the soil.
They were shards of pottery.
Some 350 years ago an Acadian man had eaten his dejeuner on this barren wind blown spot and perhaps dropped his eating dish and it had broken. Looking closer I could see the smooth marks from being crafted on a potter's wheel and a light blue stripe around the rim.
My comment? Hmmm!
I put it in my pocket and left. Half of it is on my fireplace mantle, the other half I gave to Ronnie-Gilles Leblanc, the Acadian historian who was so incredibly helpful in researching Tintamarre.
I had stood where they had stood and touched something that one of them had used to eat.
I had a connection.