books, Elizabeth Hillman Waterston, Halifax NS, homesickness, Hurricane Juan, L.M. Montgomery, L.M. Montgomery's Journals, literature, Mary Henley Rubio, Point Pleasant Park, The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years
L.M. Montgomery went for a walk in Point Pleasant Park in the early evening of Saturday, March 15, 1902, feeling miserable and lonely, and the pines and the spring air cured her of her terrible homesickness—at least temporarily. She was in Halifax for a year, working as a “newspaper woman” at the Daily Echo, and while there were parts of the job that she enjoyed, she disliked the city (“Halifax is the grimiest city in Canada—I know it is!”) and she missed the countryside around her home in Cavendish, PEI.
She writes of the contrast between the “fine and sunny” day, and her feeling of being “oh, so lonesome! There doesn’t seem to be any connection between the two ideas in that sentence and there isn’t. It just came so. There were hundreds of people in the park and I didn’t know one of them. For awhile I hated life!”
It wasn’t until she left the busy shore road and “fled up into a wilderness of pines and along the Serpentine [path] until at last I found myself alone—and then I was no longer lonesome!” She writes, “It was delicious there. The fresh, chill spring air was faintly charged with the aroma of pine balsam and the sky over me was clear and blue—a great inverted cup of blessing. How glorious it was to see the sky once more, undarkened by rows of grimy houses!”
Pines are her favourite of all trees, Montgomery writes here, and next to them, fir trees. “There is something in these trees—some indefinable charm—that is not found in deciduous trees, beautiful and lovable as these are, too.”
The land at Point Pleasant Park belongs to the British Crown, and the lease is one shilling a year. Many of the trees were destroyed in Hurricane Juan in 2003, but careful management has since revitalized the park and its beautiful forest. The park is one of my favourite places in Halifax — a great place to run, walk, or picnic.
Quotations are from The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, 1901-1911, ed. Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston (Oxford University Press, 2013).
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