Springtime means running to the nearest mountains to make the most of the remaining snow, taking walks in the woods to see the trilliums sprout, and watching the traditional Raisin River Race. Sadly, for the second consecutive spring, the first is not possible, the second is a story yet to be told, and the ultimate, a popular crowd-pleaser, was canceled for reasons of physical distancing.
The Great Raisin, however, will not be ignored. It is still there, and race or not, it carries on. Today, we are heading out for a walk along this winding river. Arriving in separate cars, we park near MacGillivray Bridge on River Road. The anticipation is palpable as we happily spill out of our vehicles. As much as we are eager to see if the raging river has broken free of its winter restraints, we are especially delighted to break free ourselves, if only for a moment, to cautiously shed our winter isolation and become once again the social human beings we are meant to be. A tranquil country road where we can walk three abreast is a good set-up for releasing bottled-up conversation.
Last week this section of river showcased its different stages of thaw, from still frozen solid, to flowing, to jammed with icy chunks. Today, merely a week later, it tells another story, having now shattered its winter chains as if mirroring our own emotional state.
The scenery is as delightful as the company and the March sunshine as radiant as the smiles surrounding me. We have a new companion with us today, an energetic boxer-lab named Frank, who quickly demonstrates that he will be today’s leader. In fact, this friendly canine puts us to shame, running laps around us and logging more steps than we can possibly count. When someone points out the fact that he has the benefit of two extra legs, it makes me feel much less inept.
For some of us, a full year has elapsed since we have seen each other in a three-dimensional form. Social media is a great alternative, but nothing beats the real deal. Moments such as these remind me that no matter what life throws at us, there is always something good to be found. Sometimes, it just means looking a little harder. As we swap stories, it becomes clear that confinement and the ever-changing regulations have taken their toll on everyone and that an outing such as this simple walk is a much-appreciated dose of positivity in our otherwise restricted interactions. It is not just the weather that warms me just now; it is also hearing the live laughter and the animated voices of my companions. It makes my spirit soar and I feel ready to face whatever life will throw at me next.
Although I may not be running to the mountains just yet, at least not to those taunting me across the St. Lawrence River, I have found another way to welcome spring at the Raisin River, and I see no reason why I can’t go traipsing through the forest to gaze at thriving trilliums on my next outing. Perhaps I will see you there and wave at you from a distance.
For more information about the Cornwall Outdoor Club, visit our website at www.cornwalloutdoorclub.ca or like us on Facebook.
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