Sunday, August 23, 2009

lost in the woods of birchtown


the pounding rain of hurricane bill is drenching my windows, the power is flickering and the coffee is ready. the perfect conditions for a cozy sunday morning read. road warrior 10 is in the herald today, and this was one i was very much looking forward to researching and exploring. i'd never heard of birchtown until i read the book of negroes by lawrence hill. his protagonist spends a critical part of her life in the now-obscure village near shelburne.

like so many things i've discovered on this journey to write RW, i was amazed that such amazing, riveting history is buried in nova scotia's past.

as wayne commented on the herald story:

"Awesome story that most Nova Scotian's know nothing about. Would love to visit the place and try to learn more. In my opinion it would be far better to teach our students some of the history of Nova Scotia, rather than spending time making sure they remember the names and dates of each of the wives of Henry the Eighth. We know not our own history."

i agree. i was troubled when i got there, as i hadn't planned ahead and so didn't know that the heritage centre is closed in mondays. so was the church. in the end, i think it captured the mood well - locked doors and fading signs.

i can assure you i was very pleased to stumble across anna! i spent a pleasant hour in her house, chatting about everything and nothing, getting a sense of what birchtown was.

the photo is of the pit houses the first black loyalists constructed to survive the wicked winter that came there way.
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