It is the summer of mermaids in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Ten larger-than-life mermaid sculptures, each painted by a different local artist, are scattered around the city’s downtown. At the end of the summer they’ll be auctioned off as a fundraiser for Easter Seals. But for now, they are a striking contribution to the city streets.
My mom and dad took the children on a drive downtown to see the mermaids last week, and once I heard about them, I decided the kids and I should re-do the trek on foot to get a better look. We went downtown today and walked the length of Duckworth Street and Water Street, spotting mermaids and snapping pictures. I made a concerted effort to travel at child’s pace, stopping and slowing according to their agenda (“Look at the moth! Let’s play hide and seek! I need a rest!”) instead of my own. Actually I had to make some compromises, because if I’d done it entirely at their pace, I wouldn’t be here writing this at 5:00 p.m.; we’d still be downtown. As it was we took about two hours and saw eight mermaids, which we thought at the time were the whole lot. In fact we missed two, but it was still a very rewarding trip, and here are the pictures to prove it. We discussed our favourite mermaids and I read aloud to the kids the stories about each mermaid posted on the plaque at the bottom.
When the Mermaid Tour was finished, we went home to get some lunch and then drove up to Manuels River. It’s a wonderful, hot, sunny day, and as we head into the second half of our Newfoundland summer these days are become as rare and precious as — well, as mermaids. To be enjoyed, not taken for granted, for as long as they’re here.