On August 31, I woke up to a beautiful sunrise in a Walmart parking lot on Prince Edward Island. The air was fresh and cool, a hint of chill, and I walked Zelda in a big patch of grass while trying to smell ocean. (I failed, but it was easy enough to smell later.)
We went to a grocery store, Atlantic Superstore, and for the first time in Canada, I found ALL the things — the dog food that Zelda is most likely to eat, gluten-free oats so I can make granola again, even Greek yogurt with the fat. (Fat-free Greek yogurt is the most pointlessly unpleasant food — I don’t understand how people can eat it. But apparently that’s what they do in Canada. Not on PEI, though!)
Then I headed off to Green Gables. I wound up paying to drive through the Prince Edward Island National Park, which would have been silly except that it was a stunningly beautiful drive on a gorgeous day, well worth $4. At Green Gables, I joined the throng of early bird tourists to admire the historic house and beautiful gardens, then escaped from them entirely for a solo walk through the Haunted Woods. Not very haunted, but I’m sure my imagination could have conjured up ghosts on a dimly-lit evening. And they were probably fantastic in the days when the paths weren’t lined with logs and well-trodden by thousands of feet.
Next I drove to the north of the island, admiring the scenery at every turn. I once told R, I think, that my first trip to England disappointed me, because I’d expected it to be some kind of incandescent green that it just wasn’t. It was green and lovely and I had a great time once I’d gotten over my expectations, and I’ve enjoyed other visits over the years, but it wasn’t the brilliant green that my imagination had generated from years of reading. Prince Edward Island, on the other hand, is exactly that color green.
It was past lunch time and I was hungry, so I thought about stopping and making myself a salad, like a good van-lifer. Instead, I stopped and read TripAdvisor for a bit, then went to The Lobster Shack and bought myself a cold lobster, and a half dozen oysters. I ate the oysters on their patio overlooking the ocean, each one with a different hot sauce, while Zelda napped at my feet. I brought the lobster with me to the campground.
At the campground, my neighbors were using my fire pit — they apologized, but I didn’t mind, I didn’t plan on using it myself — so I got to smell campfire mixed with ocean spray. Zelda and I immediately went walking, taking the steps directly in front of my site down to a lovely empty beach. When she hit the sand, she ran like a puppy. She got her feet wet and yelped with surprise at how cold the water was, but we had the nicest walk we’ve had since she got hurt, out to the end of the curve of sand and onto red rocks, and then back again.
Back at the van, I read some more of the Anne of Green Gables series, eventually ate cold lobster dipped in melted butter with lime, admired the sunset, appreciated the smell of campfire smoke, and listened to the ocean.
It was a most amazing day.
And it wasn’t the best day of August. It was nice, definitely, really nice, and I love this campground so much that I’m thinking about staying longer. But for the best of the month, I have to pick August 10th. I spent that day on Grand Isle, Vermont, with R. Z had her first reasonable walk after getting hurt, and we saw chipmunks and squirrels and rabbits. I made bacon and potatoes and eggs over-easy for breakfast, sat outside, read books, appreciated the sunshine. In the evening, my cousin came and we built a campfire, grilled sausages, ate outside at the picnic table and talked for hours. That day wins because of the wonderful company.
That said, September 1st has a darn good shot at September’s title. Yesterday was beach, beach, more beach, interspersed with good words on the story I’m working on. There was a beautiful sunrise in a cloudy sky, and then a gray rainy morning, with the sound of rain on the van roof, the sight of dark ocean ahead of me. And then the sky cleared and the afternoon was sunny and golden. The evening was the smell of smoke and an absolutely fantastic night sky, scattered with so many stars that if I knew anything about stars, I bet I could have found all the constellations ever named. (Except the ones that can only be seen in the Southern Hemisphere, of course.)