Come down to the sea and take your imagination with you. Never mind the rain and don’t distract yourself with the usual finds of beachcombers: broken lobster traps, lone sandals, bottles, cans and driftwood. Sometimes the stormy seas bring something far more wondrous to our shores.
Of course, it’s not every day you get to see a mermaid. Such enchanting encounters occur so rarely that it’s difficult to know what to do when you do at last catch sight of one on the shore.
You wouldn’t want to get too close. Only half human, the wild part of their nature would likely make them quite skittish and easy to scare back into the water. It’s best to keep a safe distance for both your sakes. After all, mermaids have been known to lure humans unwittingly into the depths of the sea, never to return again. Even Blackbeard the pirate feared their charms and kept his ship away from waters where they had been sighted.
Mermaids likely visited Nova Scotia’s shores long before Europeans settled here. Thrown off course by strong currents during storms, there’s little record of their short stays on our beaches.
They linger only long enough to re-arrange their hair, untangle the seaweed from their tails and sing a haunting song or two before returning to their homes in the deep.
Though this one’s fingers weren’t webbed and she wasn’t sitting on ‘the mermaid stone’ (perhaps the algae made it too slippery this time of year), she was genuinely enchanting.
When will she return? Mermaid visits are as unpredictable as the weather here in Nova Scotia. One can only hope it will be soon.
Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012