My son Ben and I were jogging on a foggy afternoon at The Hawk, a beautiful beach on Cape Sable Island, in southwest Nova Scotia. An older gentleman walked toward us and we started a conversation. Robert Francis Cunningham is a local resident who is in his seventh decade perhaps–though it was hard to tell. His voice was strong and he had passion for life. He told us that he too walked and jogged on the beach at least a couple of times a week. In a word, he was into fitness.

He told us he enjoyed fruits and vegetables, and looked askance at people he knew who went on crash diets and then gainedthe weight back again–and then some. At that moment he had a chicken in the oven and was following a healthy recipe he had just learned. he told us the recipe in some detail. “It was smelling some good when I left the house,” he said.

His wife is a walker, he said, and she too has a healthy diet. 

Later I spoke to another older fellow, one who was not as lively as the first. He was walking a slow-moving dachsund. But he was out in the air. He complained about the bugs, but you could tell he loved his part of the world.  

 The basis of health is pretty simple, I was thinking: diet, exercise, fresh air, peace of mind. 

The Hawk is the well known to birders for the migratory birds that pass by. It is also known for fog and wind. “We only have three seasons here,” said Mr. Cunningham. “We don’t have summer.”

It was hot when we got off the causeway onto the mainland. Ben, my daughter Claire and I went to a beautiful beach at Ingomar, near the cottage we were renting. We played in the surf. It was freezing but fun. The next day we drove north to a beach that I know that is nearly always warm. I knew about it from growing up in Liverpool. The water was perfect. Even my wife swam. Ah, summer in Nova Scotia!

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