The Peggy's Cove Barrens
A Primordial Landscape
The Peggy’s Cove Preservation Area in Nova Scotia includes thousands of acres of an oceanside landscape which is littered with boulders some larger than a bus. It has a rugged shoreline, salt marshes, small lakes and boggy areas. At its centre is the iconic fishing village of Peggy’s Cove
and its famous lighthouse. Like many I just call it The Barrens.
This landscape emerged after the last ice age ended around ten thousand years ago when the glaciers retreated and left bare rock behind. The Glacier had been up to a mile thick and the boulders actually dropped out from the bottom of the ice but now they look like they literally dropped out of the sky.
It seems like they are still reaching for that sky. Some of the larger boulders are perched precariously on smaller rocks but they have been solidly balanced that way for thousands of years. After the Glaciers retreated plants gradually re-colonised the thawing land. Some are very similar to the flowers, mosses, lichens, berries and bushes you see on the arctic tundra. There are a few trees in sheltered spots and around Canal Lake and Long Lake but the true forest only begins a mile or more inland.
The Barrens is near my home on St. Margaret’s Bay- a great place to go for walks and hikes. It feels primeval and it is a humbling place. Visiting there you can’t help but contemplate that your life is
but a very small measure in the immensity of the Earth’s time and its changes.
I started a photography project there a few years back, paying attention to the wide open landscape and ever changing skies, but also bringing my awareness to the world of plants, flowers, shrubs,
birds, people and animals. As for photography - I try to relax and look deeply.
Look at this, look at that, the unseen beings seem to saying.
There are layers upon layers to be discovered. Just when I think I have seen or felt it all there
is a new surprise. I see that everything is sacred and it is unending.
This project is published by Formac Publishing:
PEGGY'S COVE: LAND, SEA, SKY:
A PHOTO ALBUM OF THE PEGGY'S COVE BARRENS
"This collection of 150 photographs by Kent Martin reflects the seasons and the range of natural history
on display. He pays attention to the wide landscape and ever-changing skies, but also the smaller world
of mosses, flowers, birds, people and animals."
Binding: Paperback, 128 pages 9 in. x 12 in. $29.95