The Dryden Observer

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In praise of ‘the great dying’

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.

It’s taken me my whole life to begin to appreciate the autumn season.

It’s an acquired taste that demands a maturity in one’s character that I still struggle to maintain.

For 18 years of one’s early life, fall represents a return to labour and responsibility from a state of ultimate freedom, of escalating levels of atmospheric discomfort, of more darkness and less light.

Now in my late-30s, I love the fall exactly for that sweeping sense of change it brings to all aspects of existence. I wonder how others survive in places without this transformative force in their lives.

I love the great dying — the triumphant explosion of colour on the landscape that transforms our chlorophyll driven landscape from green, to yellow, to that colourlessness of dawn. The air itself clears and the sun takes on a whiter, unfiltered quality.

Our food becomes more ‘comfortable’ — soups, stews, and oven-roasted things stage a return when it’s no longer so unbearably hot in the kitchen that you wouldn’t dare consider turning on the oven or stove.

After scrapping for the slightest news tidbit from the vacationing public for two months, September and October are nearly an overwhelming deluge of action as public agencies get back in a rush to get their ship in order before Christmas.

Work aside, there’s a return to those activities that seem to make up the fabric of a community. Volunteer groups, sports teams, service clubs all return a sense of strength and stability to a community in the midst of self-reflection, of wondering what our future can afford.


Mauro bringing bear hunt back to fore

It’s a testament to the wrong-headedness of a decision, I think, that 16 years after the Spring Bear Hunt was cancelled by legislation in Ontario political efforts are still afoot to restore it.

Thunder Bay MPP Bill Mauro recently announced his plans to introduce a private member’s bill to expand bear hunting opportunities.

It’s a smart political gambit too — many Northwesterners who have no stake in the hunting and fishing scene still recognize the cancellation of the spring bear hunt as an imposition of office-tower environmentalism fueled more by pictures of cute bear cubs than the realities on the ground.

My favourite episode of this ongoing drama was a few years back when CBC Radio Thunder Bay hosted a Toronto environmentalist and a Northern resident to debate the merits of the Spring bear hunt. I believe the conversation ended prematurely as the Northerner needed to call someone to deal with the three bears who were on her deck trying to get into her house.

Coming on the heels of a recent bear attack near Peterborough, The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters has also jumped on the opportunity to reiterate their points on why they believe the hunt should return, citing everything from a reduction on the cannibalism of bear cubs by rival males, the high failure rates of capture and relocation efforts, to the $40 million in annual revenues that flows out of the province to Spring hunts in Manitoba and Quebec.

Perhaps more appropriate legislation would involve assigning the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources a more meaningful role in addressing urban deer populations that are problematic.

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