By Lawrence Powell
“What would the world be, once bereft
Of wet and of wildness? Let them be left,
O let them be left, wildness and wet;
Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet.”
-- Gerard Manley Hopkins
Sigrid Meier set a brisk pace through the wet and wildness, pausing only once to look at old rock walls – or maybe they were the foundations of long-abandoned homes reclaimed by moss, weeds, bushes, trees.
There’s the foundation of an old school somewhere, she said. At least that’s what somebody told her.
She did pause a few other times, but that was just to let the others catch up – or take photos of her. Sigrid was perhaps the oldest of the group and possibly in the best shape.
It’s not difficult to imagine her as a young woman taking her first trip to Delaps Cove back in the late 1960s. Husband Raymond was with her and the Swiss couple fell in love with the Bay of Fundy -- with its wild water smashing into its rugged cliffs. Raymond was a physicist and would have understood that equation.
Wednesday evening Sigrid used a staff as she walked back in time to the place she and her late husband shared. Just to be clear, she said she doesn’t usually use a staff. All those years ago, on some youthful and nature-inspired impulse, they bought about 50 acres of shoreline, a place to come back to. A place where they left little bits of their hearts.
They had immigrated to Montreal and then to the United States where Sigrid still lives. Wednesday the family had come from Pennsylvania, California, and Texas to give part of that land away.
County recreation director Deb Ryan, on the wooden bridge that leads across to Meier Point, told the crowd that two years ago Dan Meier called and wondered if he could take a tour and explore their land. They did that, Dan and wife Jodi, along with their children Lily and Julian. With Ryan they explored and went down into the cove.
"We chatted about their mother Sigrid's visit so many years earlier when we walked the trail together in the 1990s," Ryan said in a brochure created for the Wednesday evening opening of Meier Point, 10 acres of land out past the Delaps Cove trails. "And so began the dialogue that led to this special donation."
Sigrid's daughter Sue, her husband Vince Kijowski and their children Matthew and Emily visited the trail in 2011.
"They climbed the rocks and cliffs while visiting their land; we discussed the donation and determined a special location for the placement of the Meier monument," Ryan said.
And they gave the county the land.
A little further on Sigrid cut a red ribbon to signify the official opening of Meier Point.
Across the bridge, Sigrid and her children stood on each side of a draped monument. When the moment was right, Sigrid and her daughter pulled the Nova Scotia flag from a slab of stone inscribed with the words Meier Point and the Gerard Manley Hopkins verse.
Dan Meier told the story of Sigrid and Raymond camping here in 1969, falling in love with the place, and purchasing it on a whim. He said his family has protected the land for 40 years. By donating it to the county he said collectively it can be preserved forever.
He said he's amazed by the place and hopes to come back in a few years to see a new trail through the 10 acres.
"Nothing would have made our father happier than to know their fortuitous purchase, so many years ago, would one day be adjacent to the wonderful Delaps Cove Wilderness Trail," the family said in a statement.
Sigrid said it was fitting to give the land to Annapolis County residents, describing it as a special place to her and her husband. She had signed the land over to her children and said she is really proud of them for deciding to make the donation.
"We are honoured to make this donation, which will allow the existing trail system to be extended and enjoyed by the families of future generations," the family said.
Sigrid stood on the cliff, a few metres from the edge of Meier Point. Memories of Raymond and their time out here. The mighty Bay of Fundy crashed against the rocks. For more than half an hour the visitors to the point explored the rugged terrain, took photographs, and talked. Jodi Meier climbed down and skipped across the rocks.
People hiked back out to the parking area, a 20-minute walk, and eventually headed to the local community hall where there was cake and music.