Community

Jun 11, 2023

Those who know us well, know that Alison and I aren’t exactly renowned for dwelling on research.  We make decisions rather quickly, most often with the desired and intended results.  When we miss the mark, we see it as a lesson learned and an adventure had.  Whether it is choosing a paint colour, shopping around for a new washing machine, or wondering if we could find ‘whatever it is’ cheaper at another store, we would rather spend our time enjoying the things we enjoy versus getting caught in the weeds of making decisions.  Does this always work out?  Nope. On occasion we have made purchases that sit in the basement until, after years of denial we finally admit defeat and post it on Kijiji, or we end up re-painting a room, but by and large our decisions have led us to places we thoroughly enjoy.  We live by our family credo and always do our best to ‘make the most of it’.

The scope and scale of our decision process does not appear to have any limitations, either.  We have travelled to places unknown on a whim, we made the decision to go to an electric vehicle rather swiftly, and we made the move to leave Guelph and into Elora without really knowing much about it.   But after throwing a dart at a map, driving 15 minutes out of the city we, at the time called home, and stepping through the front door of the house with yellow bricks and personality for the first time, we fell in love, saw an immediate vision of what the house and life could look like, and that was that.  We signed the papers quickly and trusted that whatever came next would be the right thing.  We weren’t wrong.

Elora, Ontario, within the past 9-years, has become our home.  I am grateful for the neighbours that surround us; friendly and kind, and always taking an interest in the well-being of our girls.  We look out for one another and our properties, and there’s a true sense of care up and down the street.  A stroll downtown is always met with friendly faces and kind exchanges between pillars of the community.  The shops fulfill our needs and indulgences, and we can achieve our goals without ever needing to get into a car.  It gets a little wild during the Spring and Summer months when the tourists come out to play, but their presence is what sustains this place and prevents it from becoming a metropolis of box stores and chain restaurants.

We are surrounded by accessible green space and adventure, which is something I’m proud to the see girls taking full advantage of.  For anything we don’t immediately have, we can drive 20-minutes in any direction and its there.  This isn’t to say it’s perfect – I do miss the proximity of my close friends, the impromptu social gatherings at the local watering hole, and the food; while Elora does have some good options on this front, our previous stomping grounds did provide much more diversity in its menu.  Perhaps, for all of its nuance, and loveliness, the most notable and exciting aspect of this corner of the world is that we are immersed in a true community.  Something I feel we’ve truly become a part of.

Bustling with personalities and familiar faces, we recognize not only our neighbours, but the shop owners, the vendors, the buskers, and each staff member of the downtown library.  There are conversations to be had at every corner, and it pleases me that our kiddos are growing up surrounded by people who not only look out for them and have their best interests in mind, but who are teaching the girls that this world, for all the scary things that live within it, is a friendly and kind place above anything else.  Just the other day we made the parenting decision to let Nora venture to the library all on her own to check out a book she had on hold.  While she was bursting with pride and excitement at the notion of independence, as a parent I was welled up, both with pride and caution for seeing my little lady stroll bravely out the door on her own.  Before she headed out we called up our library and let them know she was on her way, travelling solo, and that she had our permission to do so – the response from the librarian that this was a common thing for them, and that the lone voyage to the library was often times the first venture out for kids in the area gave us comfort, assurance and further confidence in our decision.  With the past couple of weeks finding me in a bit of a funk, it is these experiences and gazing out my window to observe this community full of nurturing support that has helped to start to lift me out of it.

The decision to move to Elora was one made hastily, that cannot be denied.  The decision to stay in Elora, however, is one that has solidified itself over time and experience.  I am grateful for our surroundings, the people that inhabit them, and the environment we’ve helped to build.  I am grateful for our neighbour who passes fresh rhubarb and asparagus over the fence.  I am thankful to the bookstore staff who always share their stories and engage in conversation.  I am appreciative of the neighbours for engaging with our kids as people, and not looking down on them.  I look forward to the day when Nora and Audrey are walking and biking, not only to the library, but to the cafe, or gran’s house, or their first job.  Though I don’t wish either of my children to grow up too fast, I am excited for them to grow up here.

 

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