We were behind 65 cars and 3 tractor trailers, a line that stretched along the side of a narrow roadway from the pier where the ferry to Grand Manan was to arrive in 45 minutes. This was our first trip to Grand Manan, an Island in the Bay of Fundy, and I was excited. I had seen it many times on a map and often spoke to Pat about making it a destination sometime; but getting there involved purpose and commitment, involving expense and at least one day of travel.
I thought we had arrived early and was surprised at how far back from the ferry dock we were. There was a red pickup truck in front of us. The driver, an elderly man, was standing outside his vehicle and I joined him, asking if he had been to Grand Manan before. He said he lived there and was returning after a shopping trip to the mainland. We talked for some time, he telling me about Grand Manan, a small Island with three fishing villages, a Provincial Park, a nursing home where his wife was resident, one motel and no bars. As we talked he told of his career manning the lighthouse on an isolated small Island, of his lifetime of maintaining the light, and of the life that he and his wife had shared in that setting, and how that way of life was now disappearing.
As we talked, I was surprised at how quickly the time passed. He mesmerized me with his stories of a life so different than most of us experience. His eyes seemed to reflect the sea as he looked off into the distance. I wondered what he saw. I don’t remember his name; but I still remember him, a man going home.