By Chad Ingram
During the Labour Day weekend, we took a family day trip to Fenelon Falls, which was excellent. It’s been years since I’ve spent much time there, and it’s apparent there’s an ongoing community effort to rejuvenate the town. There have been improvements to the waterfront area, including a splash pad that opened last summer, and there is a sense of renewal and optimism as new businesses open up shop.
But that’s not what this column is about.
I was sitting outside the museum (which is also excellent) watching Evangeline play in the sandbox, when I noticed something floating through the air above me. For a moment, I wasn’t quite sure what it was. A butterfly? It was sort of swirling toward me in the breeze, almost in slow motion, like that feather in Forrest Gump. Then, it landed at my feet and I could see clearly that it was a curled, brown oak leaf. How rude.
Technically, summer is not over for a couple of weeks, which is what I constantly tell myself, and anyone who will listen. Just random strangers at the grocery store, in some cases. Of course, it’s getting a bit difficult to believe my own rhetoric with all of my friends posting back-to-school pictures of their kids on social media and the weather transforming into a grey malaise. In an unspeakable tragedy, on Tuesday, for the first time in months, I put on a pair of blue jeans.
You can feel it on the roadways of Haliburton County, the buzz of summer traffic suddenly gone. Lakes that just days ago were filled with the roar of boat motors suddenly quiet. I’m writing this column from the Echo office and across the street, the parking lot at Head Lake Park, which has been jammed for weeks and weeks on end, is almost empty. As if a giant switch has been flicked, the community has returned to the usual, sleepy pace that exists outside of July and August.
Of course, this downtime is often welcome in a way. Merchants, accommodators, restaurateurs and business owners of all sorts who’ve been running their feet off for the past few months can take a breath and perhaps some time for themselves. For the rest of us, we no longer have to wait in line . . . well, anywhere, really. September typically gives us some sun, and it can be pleasant to enjoy that weather in peace and quiet.
Of course, as I was so rudely reminded by that oak leaf during my trip to Fenelon Falls, before long the county’s green canopy will turn fiery with reds, yellows and oranges, signalling that the soulless calamity known as winter is on its way.
Until then, I’ll be the guy wearing Bermuda shorts, drinking lemonade in the rain and telling anyone who’ll listen that it is still technically summer.