Posted by bob on Mar 4, 2012in Tall Tales With Jack
Depending, on whether you are an optimist or pessimist, today is either the shortest day or longest night of the year. I choose to think of it as a time when days begin to get longer and spring is only 90 days away. Looking back 90 days I was just leaving the east coast of Canada and heading back to Michigan from our summer digs. Now I’ve settled in and have cleared my busy social calendar for a few days it’s time for me to share some of the interesting stories about our recent trip. When I say “our,” I mean me and the BIG GUY, better known in some circles as Bob Belliveau-Ferrin Lemieux…and you think I suffer from an identity crisis!
I was invited to be with the BIG GUY’s at his exhibition at the World Congress of Acadians in the Acadian Peninsula of Northeastern New Brunswick, Canada, in mid-August. The peninsula is not new to me; I’ve been tramping through the marshes, wetlands, beaches and backwaters with the BIG GUY for the past four years. What a trip!
When I first hooked-up with him he had already been exploring the region for two years so it helped me adjust quickly once I realized he knew where he was going and how in the name of good St. Peter he was going to find our way out of some of the places we ended up exploring and photographing.
If he wasn’t stuck (hard to do with a four wheel drive truck) in a bog or logging road somewhere I’d be sitting atop his prone whale shaped body, beached in a tidal marsh waiting to capture a rear butterfly or creepy crawly creature that he found exciting. While he was filling his chest waders with the incoming tide I would perch on his back enjoying the sun and my surroundings. I love bringing my private island with me everywhere we go.
However, once the doors to the World Congress of Acadians exhibition opened I realized why it was all worth it….The BIG GUY had captured the essence of the region, her creatures, landscapes and her people in a masterful way that even left me in awe. I’ve been around him too long to be awed by anything he does, but I must admit this was the exception!
I had established myself in my usual cozy corner under his desk, in my comfy basket and comforter (well wouldn’t you), and watched in amazement as visitor after visitor was awestruck and captivated by the BIG GUY’s images and the 35-minute DVD program he produced especially for the occasion. Can you believe, some attendees cried, some applauded (once, he even got a standing ovation), and everyone hung around after each showing talking, reminiscing and wanting to know more about the Peninsula and her features.
Frankly, I have never experienced anything like this in the years we have been together. Usually, I could circulate, sniff a few legs, and occasionally nip someone’s heel if they didn’t measure-up, but this was special. I never moved. I watched in silent amazement, and listened to the heartfelt feedback the BIG GUY received from appreciative visitors, whether former residents of the Peninsula, returning for the event or new folks coming to the region for the first time; thanks to the World Congress.
The visitors were not only paying tribute to six years of work, they were being educated about the environment and the Acadian people. That was another thing! Having the opportunity of being around so many Acadians at one time was overwhelming. I thought a pack of stray dogs, chasing a bitch in heat had fun, but nothing like these folks--story after story and tale after tale, with belly laughs after each storyteller finished.
These people know how to live and love. I saw more hugs between perfect strangers than sea gulls on a newly plowed field. Everyone appeared to become instant lifelong friends with as much as a salut! Not only was there an air of jocularity in the room but when the home made baked goods began appearing I could tell that it would take more than a month on Nutri-system to compensate for the caloric intake, if each of them decided to accept my pleading eyes inviting them to give me a treat. After all a guy has to do what a guy has to do. In my case, look cute, sit on my rear haunches and wag my tail.
At the end of the sixth day we were ready for a much needed rest. We had come, exhibited and shared our work and insights of the region with those who attended, and it was time to close-up and head for the tranquility of Cap Brule, our summer home, to spend some time recuperating, before heading back to our winter home in Michigan.
The Acadians and the World Congress of Acadians had demonstrated to the world what real people are like and how the love of their fellow man is fuelled by the faith they have in their creator, His mother and their strong family ties.
We’ll enjoy our time off, to allow the Big Guy to get a new hip on December 28th, and be ready to hit the trails again when the snow cover begins to melt in the spring. By April, we’ll be back in the wetlands, marshes and along the beaches doing what the BIG GUY and I do best, creating images of a paradise known to only a few.