As of today, 4 December 2015, the ownership of the Elizabeth Bishop House in Great Village, Nova Scotia, had changed. Eleven years ago, I and a group of Nova Scotians and Americans bought the house. During that time we welcomed countless Bishop pilgrims, hosted dozens of events and provided a place of respite for many artists. It was a great privilege to take care of Elizabeth Bishop’s childhood home and to share its magic with so many amazing people from around the world. It has been difficult to let go, but I truly believe that the spirits of the house and the good will of the wonderful residents of Great Village will work their magic on the new owner.
As Bishop wrote in “The Imaginary Iceberg”: “Good-bye, we say, good-bye, the ship steers off / where waves give in to one another’s waves / and clouds run in a warm sky.” It is good-bye, but only for us. The fact is, the house isn’t going anywhere. It has been “docked,” at its home port, for over 150 years, and doesn’t show any signs of wanting to travel. I wish the new owner as many joys and delights as I have known in this dear old house.
(The pantry, my favourite room, June 2015)
I am honoured to have had stewardship of such an important site of pilgrimage, a home I tended to the best of my ability for over a decade. It is my intention to write about my personal experiences at the house, and I will share those reminiscences here at some point during the winter.