Most Beautiful Yet Sad Border Moment Saturday

On Friday the Canada and United States of America border was slated to close after a conversation was held between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and American President Donald Trump earlier in the week.

After having an exchange with my editors over a neat opportunity to cover it, I went down to St. Stephen on Friday. The border closing was set to happen Friday night at 1159PM and it did.

The towns of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, and Calais, Maine are located right next to each other with a bridge in-between. They share a lot of things including infrastructure….more on this later. But with the two communities soo close, not only do they share a bridge in between but a community. The communities are so far apart in terms of the country but so close in terms of geography.

On Saturday my assignment was to capture unique exchanges around the border. I went to the RBC in St. Stephen’s and waited inside my SUV. With the requirement of having to maintain a 6 meter distance between us, I brought my Canon 70-200 & Canon 300mm. I wanted a zoom lens to give me the distance between myself and anyone I was photographing as well as compacting the background.

I observed the cars in the parking lot coming and going. Lots were coming in and leaving. Every 2-3 minutes, it seemed, someone would be walking along the path in St. Stephen, NB. On the Calais, Maine side, not so much. I observed cars coming and going to the park on their side but no one got out.

Enter Ann Billingsley (from St. Stephen, NB, Canada) and her boyfriend Gregg Hornbrook (from Calais, Maine, USA). They live on opposite sides of the border and with the border crossing are preventing them from seeing one another, up close that is.

So as I noticed Ann in her car talking on the phone, I was hopeful that there would be someone on the other side of the river. And sure enough, Gregg was there. After waiting….and waiting…and waiting some more, Ann got out of her car and extended a wave. It was the most beautiful and yet sad thing all in once.

Great I thought! I got what I wanted however I didn’t have her or his name. And I really wanted it but didn’t want to disobey the 2 meter COVID-19 rule.

Afterward, she jumped into her vehicle. I grabbed a piece of paper from my SUV writing please text or call when you can. Shortly thereafter, she did.

This was an incredibly beautiful and sad moment all in one.

As seen in The Globe and Mail.

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