A lonely visit to the beach of my childhood – Mispec Beach

29 Jul

I have a painting commission to do of shorebirds.  This is the right time of year for photographic reasearch as the birds are in the early stages of their fall migration.  I know there is a shorebird conservatory a few hours from here (Johnson’s Mills Shorebird Conservatory and Interpretive Centre), but I though I would take my chances with a beach nearer to home.  Also, I would never pass up the chance to head out to Micpec Beach located at the edge of Saint John.

The day was overcast, slight rain, no wind and 24 degrees. Perfect beach day for an artist with a camera.  When I arrived at the beach, I was taken aback.  I know a storm surge wiped out the trails and stairs a few years ago, but holy hannah I was not really prepared for what I saw.  An area of  parking lot was chained off – to keep visitors for f the edge that was compromised by the storm.  I felt like I was on a lost and lonely overgrown movie set.  The canteen was boarded in, there are paddlelocks on the washroom and the place is suffering from lack of repair and neglect.

The  photo above is taken from the look out area above the beach… only a few cars there and a few people walking on the beach.  Strange sense of loneliness.  And so I walked the on the beach towards the fast approaching tide,  happy just to be there, and wondering where the birds are.  Sure there were a few species of gulls – but no shorebirds, no phalaropes, no plovers and no sign of any sandpipers.  But worst of all , there were no sounds of children playing!    While making my way back to my car, ever looking for a piece of beach glass I noticed the litter.  Empty plastic cups, cigarette buts. Well makes me sad… mad… frustrated.  Even if the place is not longer a public place, I cannot imagine why anyone would think it is ok to leave their trash behind!  People!.    

So, back to the parking lot for a few last photos. I wanted to soak in the sounds and the scents of the beach.  The din was shattered! Jeepers, I heard a shotgun blast from the woods across the street – very close across the street.  Made me nervous enough to think it was time to bid farewell to the ever beautiful Micpec Beach and head for home. On the way to my car, the second holy crap kerpow sounded.  Well I left rather quickly.  The shots added to the all too intense sense of isolation. (So my friend Susan just let me know this is actually a police shooting range – phew)

So, at home I decided to Google the fate of the beach.  This is a link to a story in the Telegraph Journal  and this is a link to the save Mispec Beach Facebook page.  I just asked to join this  page – I hope you will also!

4 Responses to “A lonely visit to the beach of my childhood – Mispec Beach”

  1. susanwall July 29, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Well, Helen, we were also at Mispec this week….twice in fact. I will paint a different picture. The first day we were there with our little grandson, the waves were crashing over the hot sand and we played in the water with several other people, not a lot, but some. We had a great time and just as we were getting ready to leave, a porpoise jumped out of the water and broke the waves at least 6 times; following the mackerel no less.

    On the second trip, the beach was quite full and there was lots of laughter from the many children that were there. We again had a great time. The beach was clean and running along the shore were several sand pipers.

    My husband and I said that it is nice that we have our grandson to get us back to the beach again and that we waited too long to go back. I am sure we will return many times in the future. The fact that Irving has taken on the challenge to help with revitalizing the beach is certainly a plus.

    • Helen Shideler July 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

      HI Susan – no worries on the perspective for a painitng – I am zerowing in on the ares just kissed by the incoming tides. Glad to hear there were people there. I love this place!

  2. Jenn July 29, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    I have lots of happy childhood memories of us at that beach – makes me so sad that it’s not being looked after like it should be!


  1. Nice article in the Telegraph Journal today regarding Mispec Beach - Helen Shideler Fine Art - June 18, 2013

    […] to my blog post on Mispec  earlier this […]

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