nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

blue in the woodland

with 9 comments


About a decade ago, we took a drive from Canterbury to McAdam on a gravel road.  The memory I have carried with me for years is of a section of woodland absolutely blue with flowers.  I often wondered what the flowers were and if I’d be able to find the spot again.  This weekend we tried to find the place and the sea of blue in the woodland.

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Highway 630 from Canterbury to McAdam in New Brunswick (map from Google Maps)

Highway 630 from Canterbury to McAdam in New Brunswick (map from Google Maps)

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Canterbury, like many rural communities of New Brunswick, has faced a shrinking population over the years.  Settled by Loyalists, it was a center for logging and railroad traffic and, in the late 1800s, had a population of over 1000.  Today it has only about 340 residents.  Nevertheless, it is a charming village and has a newly renovated school, housing all 12 grades.

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Village of Canterbury at the turn to Highway 630

Village of Canterbury at the turn to Highway 630

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The route from Canterbury toward the south is a numbered road.  But Highway 630 is not paved and quite rutted in some sections.  In one place we had to ask some ATVers if we were on the right road!

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Highway 630

Highway 630

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As we drove, I watched the woods for those blue flowers.  Wildflowers were certainly a theme of our drive.  By the road we saw Pink Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium acaule), Bluebead Lily (Clintonia borealis), Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) and Quaker Ladies (Houstonia caerulea).

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Lady's Slipper and Bunchberry along the road

Lady’s Slipper and Bunchberry along the road

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The map shows a community named Carroll’s Ridge just south of Canterbury.  When we reached the location marked on the map, there were no homes or buildings, only a few old roads and cleared areas.  But there in the woods was evidence people had once lived there.  I found my sea of blue!  Forget-me-nots, escaped from some forgotten garden to thrive in the near by woods.

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Forget-me-nots escaped from an old garden

Forget-me-nots escaped from an old garden

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In my memory, the ‘blue’ of the flowers was more intense a decade ago.  But we noticed many of the Forget-me-nots there now are a white variety.  Who knows if flower colour or memory really changed during those ten years.

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blue flowers in the woodland

blue flowers in the woodland

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Forget-me-nots in the woods

Forget-me-nots in the woods

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I picked a few of the Forget-me-nots, to try an ‘eco-print’ dyeing experiment in coming days.  But what I really took away was another image of a sea of blue flowers in the woods.

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

9 Responses

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  1. Hi Jane, I have a cottage at Skiff Lake and have driven down the 630 many times. Carroll’s Ridge has an interesting history. If you leave the main road and drive into the old community (accessible now by 4-wheelers), you will see old rubble stone foundations that marked a vibrant community back in the late 1800’s. Then a travelling evangelist came through and converted them to Mormonism. The community packed up, went to Saint John and from there to Boston by boat. They then travelled to Utah overland with many (most) dying along the way. I came across your site looking for images of apple trees and stone walls to incorporate into a hooked rug. Love your drawings and paintings – very inspiring.

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    Theresa Glanville

    July 28, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    • Hi Theresa. Thanks for this information! It is so much better to know a little about the history of the areas you are driving through. They must have been inspired, to leave their homes. Your hooked rug sounds very original. I used to work for the Environment Department and we have done a few studies on Skiff Lake. Have a great summer! Jane

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      jane tims

      July 29, 2014 at 11:06 am

  2. When I think of blue flowers in the woods I think of the countless bluets we had near our house when we were growing up. I don’t see them so much any more…

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    Barbara Rodgers

    June 23, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    • Hi. I have tried to plant bluets in our lawn over the years but I have never succeeded. They grow so well in some places. And they do really well in my various ‘memory lawns’!!! Jane

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      jane tims

      June 24, 2014 at 10:35 am

  3. I have driven that route . . . once. It’s a great shortcut between Passamaquoddy and Quebec, but I recall that feeling of wondering if we were on the right road. The only giveaway was the Tim Hortons cups strewn at intervals!

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    Graham

    June 19, 2014 at 12:48 am

    • Hi. We actually didn’t see a lot of litter. We counted one beer can on the whole route. There has been a lot of forest harvesting (post about that in a few days). I liked your post on the attitudes of the geology industry and the public. It is easy to be critical, but here I am, typing at my computer with all its metal components. I think all people, all sectors have to be aware that what they do has consequences and try to acknowledge this and mitigate whenever possible. Hope you do a post on glacial features of NB sometime. Jane

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      jane tims

      June 19, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      • Hi Jane, I would love to do some posts about glacial features, but I am woefully ignorant on the subject. However, there are further posts in the pipeline about NB building stones and tidal flats!

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        Graham

        June 19, 2014 at 12:39 pm

  4. The last photo is gorgeous. I love forget-me-nots and have swaths of them in spots in my yard. Some treat them like weeds and pull them all out but I love the pale blue haze and the notion that they will last for years and beyond me as well. Your blogs are so well composed, so informative with great photos. I look forward to each one.

    Like

    Carol Steel

    June 18, 2014 at 7:46 am

    • Hi Carol. Thanks very much for your support. I have my own swath of Forget-me-nots under my apple trees. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      June 19, 2014 at 12:23 pm


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