The best things in life are free

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - -- Richard Ma­honey

The best things in life are free. That idea is of­ten ob­scured as we are con­stantly driven to make money, amass riches, and ac­quire the lat­est app that we can gloat about. Sure, we need money to pay the bills. But oc­ca­sion­ally, mo­ments arise when we can de­rive sim­ple plea­sure from serendip­ity, hap­pen­stance or just plain good luck.

For ex­am­ple, the long days al­low for lengthy, leisurely walks where one can am­ble along a coun­try lane, to watch birds and take in the fresh air, slightly tinged with scents of wild roses, freshly-cut hay­lage and chem­i­cal pes­ti­cide residue.

A won­der­ful blend of the fa­mil­iar and the un­ex­pected, an out­ing at this time of year presents op­por­tu­ni­ties to come across var­i­ous species of flora and fauna. We are ac­cus­tomed to spot­ting fleet-footed deer, which, like hu­mans, exhibit var­i­ous per­son­al­ity traits. Some dis­ap­pear in the blink of an eye while oth­ers are non­plussed, stand­ing in fields or in ditches, ap­par­ently won­der­ing about the ori­gins of these strange two­legged crea­tures that are so an­noy­ing.

The ubiq­ui­tous wild turkey can be real show-offs. Those toms are right­fully proud of their plumage.

Bonus sight­ings at this time of year are glimpses of bobolinks, which re­quire the per­fect con­di­tions to nest, and tur­tles, which show a propen­sity for stop­ping in the mid­dle of roads.

As crops grow so fast their progress is al­most au­di­ble, un­wanted veg­e­ta­tion is also flour­ish­ing. Poi­son parsnip has be­come a scourge, seem­ingly de­fy­ing all at­tempts to slow its ad­vance.

We know that we must ap­proach all ditches and shoul­ders with cau­tion. How­ever, ex­plo­ration can have its re­wards.

For in­stance, a close ex­am­i­na­tion of road­side fo­liage can re­sult in the dis­cov­ery of ruby wild straw­ber­ries, which seem to taste even sweeter be­cause they some­how have man­aged to grow amidst the weeds, only cen­time­tres away from the graded sur­face of a gravel road. Ah, the joys of sum­mer, and un­sched­uled for­ag­ing. Sum­mer, that most glo­ri­ous and short­est of our sea­sons, has of­fi­cially ar­rived now that the end of an­other school year has been marked by shrieks of joy un­leashed by chil­dren, and groans of anx­i­ety by par­ents who strug­gle to find ways to keep the lit­tle dar­lings amused for two more months.

We have am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to keep our­selves en­ter­tained through­out the warm months. Ev­ery sum­mer week­end, and many evenings, Glen­garry plays hosts to a plethora of fairs, con­certs, fes­ti­vals, ex­hi­bi­tions, in ad­di­tion to the reg­u­lar of­fer­ings of com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties that are held through­out the year. Ev­ery week this news­pa­per is full of com­ing events and things to do.

If you are not into struc­tured ac­tiv­i­ties, the area has trails, parks and beaches where lazy, hazy, crazy days of sum­mer can be en­joyed.

Re­mem­ber that peo­ple do not stop play­ing be­cause they grow old. They grow old be­cause they stop play­ing. Or as they also say, youth is wasted on the young. We could all ben­e­fit from a tem­po­rary de­par­ture from our adult rou­tines. The rem­edy to most of our real and imag­ined woes is sim­ple.

Go play out­side, stare at a cloud, try to keep pace with a ner­vous muskrat, stop and smell a wild rose.

And who knows? You might uncover a gem, like a straw­berry amongst the weeds.

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