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Turning Tears to Laughter

40 Gather for Beach Walk in the Shadows of Boat Harbour.

by Miles Howe

Beach Walkers
Beach Walkers

PICTOU LANDING, NOVA SCOTIA - With nary a hint of effluent in the air, about 40 residents of Pictou Landing, and friends of residents of Pictou Landing, went on a beach walk along the shores of Lighthouse Beach, known in the Mig'maw language as 'Sinabook'. The beach walk was put on by the resurgent Pictou County Watershed Coalition.

The walk, which brought out all ages and tints of skin colour, began with a traditional Mig'maw prayer song, whose somber timbre set the mood for a melancholy meander down memory lane. The words of the day were “used to”, as in, “This used to be my playground”, “We used to catch fish here”, “Sunbathers used to be three-deep on this beach”, and on and on. Yet even here, at the mouth of the devastation of Boat Harbour, still young teens could be seen to lose themselves in the reckless abandon of a handstand, a cartwheel, or a forward flip. The natural allure of Sinabook, once one of Nova Scotia's prime bathing spots, and before that of invaluable use to the Mig'maw people, lives on.

The notion of transmutation figured largely in the day. The residents of Pictou Landing have dealt with anger, with death, and with complacency from government, who to this day ignore the destruction caused by the trillion-odd litres of effluent run-off that have poisoned their landscape, and themselves. And yet even the most powerful poison can be turned to medicine, given the proper conditions.

So as painful as it might be to smile under these circumstances, after the walk, and back at the Pictou Landing Health Centre, with cups of homemade soup and hot chocolate in hand, the Pictou County Watershed Coalition begs us to do just that. Smile. Laugh in the face of this injustice. Return to the shores of Sinabook, and reclaim this place from the maw of industry. There are still shells to collect. Tall dune grasses in which to frolic. And sand to be felt between the toes. The brave among us will still kayak and swim.

There is reason to be mad, to be sure. But our own madness has only brought us here. And if the dumping of bubbling hot effluent into Boat Harbour is to continue, and all signs point to this, then what use is this anger that has spanned 45 years? If the residents of Pictou Landing themselves ask us to share in their loss by bringing with us a smile, who are we to argue?

Please enjoy the following audio of the day's walk. Sometimes it's nice to mix a little laughter in with the tears.

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Topics: Environment
436 words
bar baz


Smiling and being happy is a

Smiling and being happy is a neccessary natural human thing to keep ourselves mentaly healthy.

But the destruction of the natural world is not to be smiled about.


I appreciate the good nature of these people.. They just hope to bring attention to the destruction of the nature of this planet..


In their area by the criminally insane corporations, who only think profits over people and  our planet

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