Photographs by Monica Lacey
For many years in my youth I strained against the small-town politics, lack of privacy and slow pace of life in Prince Edward Island (PEI). My love for the ocean, however, was constant and strong. Being apart from the mainland, surrounded by water, became, over time, something to cherish, rather than a burden.
We traveled often, having family and friends around the world, and I continued traveling as an adult, living in a wide variety of places. Throughout my life I returned to PEI every summer but one, usually arriving in May as the last snows were melting and staying through early September, the best beach days of the year. The magic of a PEI summer – the colours, the beaches, the easy-going pace, the calm, the weather, the festivals and musical events – has such a magnetic pull for millions of people, those from here as well as visitors or 'islanders by choice.'
I returned to the island in 2011 to live full-time with my husband. As a seasonal economy, jobs and opportunities are few in winter, and one must be proactive and self-motivated to stay elevated during the long, dark months. Spending true quality time with friends and family and nature is how we shape our lives here. I feel like I belong to this place, but more to the land and the sea than anything else. We are a part of each other.
I look at photography as a storytelling tool. PEI goes through so many different atmospheres through the four seasons of the year. These images were taken in June, generally quite a serene period for the island. My husband and I were on a camping trip, exploring parts of the island we'd never visited before. So these stories were new to me: mysterious, but warm, calm, and balanced.
Monica Lacey was born and brought up in Prince Edward Island, on the east coast of Canada. As an adult she spent several years living elsewhere, though the draw toward home was so strong that she returned every summer, and eventually went back to live full-time.