Jump to our home page
See what is happening with this book
Read a random section of the book. Changes every week.
Read an outline of the story
See the pictures from this book
Check out the author's blog and get into the conversations about this book
Read the author's posts of his observations of his travels, now that he's grown old and wanders in a motorhome
Subcribe to get email about Peter's blog posts
Blog posts below arranged most recent at top
Leaving the place better than we found it
Seeing with my eyes closed
Thomas Jefferson on gun control
How to lie convincingly
Our hardy heartland
Breaking the cycle
How to catch the sun's comings and goings
Thoughts from the inside
Leveraging the internet to build our walls
Twitters from the past
And the invincibility of youth
Without ego projection
Yet another gift of the road
The charming side of obstinance
The creative part of photography
A movie critic looks in the mirror
We are not alone
As part of the system
Defecting from the rear guard
The end of Kumbaya
The wanderer's poet
Running out of dirt
You are on this page
The Bay of Fundy, where the sea breathes
How to photograph them with anything, even your cellphone
A simple question we get every day
We may be failing to fail
And why no one should hesitate to examine them
Becoming a hero in one's own life story
A writing assignment
A new discovery of something old
Finding new eyes to see old landscapes
Hick humor
Toys for photographing wild places
Experiencing life with God
A radical thought about our radicals
Redemption with style
Hidden heroes among us
Resetting our parallel processor
A village with heart
A lesson from the road
The bullet dodged
A soul sparkles
Isolation in style
Painless ways to lose your virginity : 11/12/15
Blog posts above arranged oldest at bottom
Jump into the conversation about the book
Buy this book in one of its forms
Get hold of the author or join our mail list

Click any picture
to zoom in
Striking a balance

I never heard of Acadians until I met one called Jacques. He taught me to catch and eat periwinkles. While munching the tasty little snails, Jacques told me how Acadians had arrived as French colonists to the area around what is today New Brunswick. They farmed, fished, and lived happily for almost a hundred years, at peace with the Mikmaq Indians around them.

Then the struggle between empires burst in on their bucolic world. The French lost one of their tussles with the British and ceded over the land of the Acadians. The Acadians didn't much care, having spent generations in Acadia developing their own identity.

Perhaps because the Acadians spoke French, the British were suspicious and presented them with a loyalty oath. Sign it and they can stay.

The Acadians were a proud people, with traditions, towns, and prosperity. They refused, assuming the British would just leave them alone and go back to scrapping with the French.

The Great Expulsion began during the late summer harvest of 1755. Almost 12,000 Acadians were rounded up, their property seized. They were put on boats to destinations unknown. Put in current perspective, that would be like deporting everyone in New York State.

The ships sailed south, and some Acadians settled in other British colonies, but many were refused entry as a disloyal bunch. Some eventually made their way to France, a country they had never seen. A great many were accepted by the Spaniards in charge of New Orleans, where Acadian was mispronounced into Cajun.

Jacques told a sad tale of many Acadians dying of disease or drowning, wandering homeless with even the French calling them outsiders.

Some eventually drifted back to Canada's maritime provinces, nowadays having few problems becoming citizens with an allegiance to Canada.

"What was that all about," I asked Jacques. "I would have signed that silly loyalty oath in a heartbeat and gone back to my farming.

"You don't understand," he said. "You were never a stranger suddenly in a strange country with your own roots, your own history, your own identity -- all to be thrown in the trash."

I was about to agree when I realized that I had been there. As Hungarian refugees, we were every bit Acadians at one point, but with a big difference in outlook. We couldn't wait to sign American loyalty oaths, indeed we were super patriots.

Many of us Americanized our names and worked hard to lose our accents, I included, to make sure we belonged. We wanted to be "us", not "them", and we were willing to leave our Hungarian heritage as moldy baggage on the docks.

Only in my latter years have I awakened my roots, relearning my mother tongue and eager for news, music, history, and food from the Old Country. Perhaps we humans have a propensity to act like pendulums, swinging to the tribalism of Acadians or to the submission of Hungarian refugees. All the while, there is a place of equilibrium in between, a quiet place where we don't loose one of our legacies but become a mutt of both.

Click to zoom in
Kayak into the unknown

Click to zoom in
And the rhythmic blare of the fog horn

Click to zoom in
Countless waterfalls

Click to zoom in
The pharaoh looks out to sea

Click to zoom in
Covered bridges were a tight fit

For more pictures of New Brunswick, click here.

To get email about more such blogs,
Subcribe to get email about Peter's blog posts

Spam Note: We never have and never will provide your email address to anyone else for any purpose. All blog post email will include a one-click unsubscribe link.

Copyright © 2021 Peter Shikli. All rights reserved.
Website by Bizware Online Applications