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Refuge

Tuesday, August 11, 2020


We are all trying.  To get out. To feel inspired.  To connect. To be healthy and safe.  To look after ourselves.   4 couples drove to Haliburton, from Mississauga, on the Saturday morning of the August long weekend to go on a tour of the Haliburton Sculpture Forest that they had booked.  My husband, Jim,  and I were their tour leaders.  They arrived in 4 separate vehicles,  all wearing their masks, so excited.  We learned they were best friends who hadn’t been together since early March.  They had all been social & physical distancing, working at home and doing all the right things to keep themselves , and their families and friends healthy and safe.  The Sculpture Forest was the first time they were together in person since March.   They had never been to Haliburton before and so it was a big adventure in many ways for them. They were so happy to be together and the first thing they commented on was how they could smell the pine trees when they got into the county. They loved how fresh the air was.   As we headed out on the tour it was evident that they were keen.  They loved every sculpture and we spent a lot  of time at each one.  We had beautiful conversations about each sculpture and the artist. Some of the sculptures inspired us to talk about COVID.  When words like endurance and hope and resilience came up it opened the door for conversations about  what they have been experiencing and what they hoped for themselves and their kids.  Repeatedly they said how magical the experience was, how beautiful the area is, how happy they felt.  One of the men told Jim that he felt like the forest was medicinal.  As we walked we learned that the 4 women had met at university in the Philippines and they and their husbands had come to live in Canada.  Several of them have relatives living in Florida and New York City and they talked about that.  They talked about their lives in the city and what it has been like to be isolated.  And they caught up with each other as we walked.  So much laughter and joy at being together again. It was so beautiful to be a part of.  Jim and I felt very honoured that they trusted us to come and do the tour.  I asked one woman how they found about the Sculpture Forest and she said they found it on line and it had excellent reviews that they trusted it would be a safe place to go.  They brought a picnic lunch with them and planned to eat in Glebe Park and then head back home.  The whole experience made me think about how our county is a place of refuge. People come here to relax, to connect with family and friends and nature, to be in beauty, to get out of their busy lives and to feel inspired.  Those of us that live here full time hold the space for day visitors, cottagers and family and friends who visit.  We owe a huge thanks to ourselves, and everyone who is working to serve and support the visitors.  It’s takes an entire community to create the space that people can rest into.    I know these 4 couples  appreciated being able to have a safe and inspiring experience. I think we all want to feel that way when we leave our homes to go on an adventure in these times.   Tuesday, 11 August, 2020

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