A short drive outside of my hometown lies a community tied directly to history. An old grist mill set against the natural backdrop of trails and trees.
This community is home to one of my best friends and his family. His folks still are there in one of my favourite homes ever. A cozy and quiet hamlet for me that was a home away from home.
As kids this was one place that always I always looked forward to visiting. If I was to ever spend a weekend here, we would walk down to this old mill a number of times.
Farther beyond the old structures where the mill’s wheel once spun, a perfectly carved old trail leads into the woods running alongside the river seen here which eventually empties out at Park Falls. Often we would walk beyond the paths and end up farther in the woods. Even then it was easy to find our way back.
During summers it was common to walk down here to find many people swimming right here. The water was always cool among the calm surroundings. Legend has it that even on the opposite side of this now worn-out bridge, someone once dove off and into the water, seat first.
This is known as a Johnny Asscracker. Had he hit some rocks, surely his ass would have been permanently cracked. Incredible courage for sure.
Memories aside, walking down to this place again was not just about “walking to the mill”. Even with the now barricaded bridge and the road closed off to through-flowing traffic, I found something that has been missing from my life over the last few months.
It has been a reminder to me that there are places I can take myself mentally that will allow me to relax and turn my thinking around. This old mill and the community surrounding it is an incredible piece of history. It is a place that I always feel at peace to be in. Where many people come to hear and feel the same cool waters they felt in younger days.
Rural Nova Scotia (and indeed rural anywhere), probably holds a place in the heart of someone. It is in these memories that people can deploy a strong tool of self-comfort. Retreating to places like this in mind and memory can bring a person to an incredibly calm state. A pleasant memory can sometimes be the perfect remedy when you least expect it.
Sit back, and spend a few minutes thinking about places in your life that mean something special to you. Ask yourself where in your past did you find some peaceful and positive memories? How can you bring those memories into the present to help you now? Can it be used as a coping strategy during a dark day?
Make a list of those places. Of those moments. Of those memories. Refer to it often, and you may find some peace that is sorely needed.