Dailies: July 10, 2013

Tonight is the Tobermory information session (which, if you’re reading this and want to come, is at 7pm at the Meeting Place). Soon we will be off and running on getting some films made here in the seventh community! And though we still have two and a half weeks left here (and many places remain to be explored), we have already been lucky to absorb quite a lot of experiences in the area.

But I’ll back up a bit first. One of the things about this trip, as we may have mentioned, is that we started in winter. Naturally, therefore, our initial focus was on preparing for the cold so that we wouldn’t freeze solid in the prairies. Our families gifted supplies: parkas, mittens, boots, a subzero sleeping bag. But through all of this, probably due to our impending anxiety about the start of the project and everything that had to be done, we did not give much consideration to the summer months. And that’s too bad, because Ontario is fairly hot in the summer.

_MG_6364In all, I think we made the right choice. While the humidity and sunshine do get to you by mid-afternoon here, they are rarely fatal (unlike our March encounter with Saskatchewan). And it just so happens that Dunks Bay, a small body of water on the Georgian Bay side of the peninsula with a beautiful sandy beach, is only a three minute bike ride from our current location. What fortune! In essence, we have been mandated by the weather to shelter in a place where we can do little else but marvel at the beauty of nature.

One of our contacts here is Noreen Steinacher, and she and her husband Rod invited us for dinner on Monday night, along with Wanda Thompson and John Francis (who have also been looking after us) and a few other people. One of the things that is becoming most clear to us is that the natural environment is a forefront concern for most of the area’s residents, and many are involved in various activities having to do with with the two national parks and other ecological institutions. Rod, for instance, is the president of the board of the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory, and he and John had several conversations about the birds in our immediate surroundings wherein they spouted out names I had never heard before. For some, the declining water levels in Lake Huron and Georgian Bay (likely the effect of continued dredging of the St. Clair River) is of prime concern, and people are also widely aware of invasive species such as zebra mussels. I suppose that living in a place where nature is so resplendent and overwhelming is a two-edged sword: the vivid character of its beauty is also a bellwether. Profound changes happening on a vast scale are more likely felt here first. That may be because it shows up better, but it might also be that the people are simply paying attention to the right signs.

Similarly, the people here are perhaps most aware of natural phenomena because they spend so much time in it. Out where we are parked on the edge of town, people in shorts and hiking boots are always on they way into the woods or walking around. John and Wanda’s son Will came home the other night from his job working for the glass-bottomed boats (where he is captaining a giant, two story one–and he’s only 21) and left again in a few minutes to head out fishing around Cove Island. In the summer, it’s barely worth keeping a house here because you are so rarely in it!

Hopefully this week we will be talking to a couple of people, including a carpenter in his eighties who still has so much business that he had to post a sign in his shop window saying “We will be trying to take Sundays off from now until Easter.”

Yours,

Ryder

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