In my opinion the jewel in the crown of Almonte is our lovely Mississippi River that flows through its heart with its beautiful waterfalls and various sites where one can get up close and enjoy the changing rhythm and seasons — it is free, it is there for all ages, visitors and locals alike.
We have to honour its presence and treat it with utmost care. I spent my early summers on the banks of the Mississippi at the current, nearly deserted beach, teaching swimming and lifeguarding and it was a happy time and a constant summer job through to my second summer of Nurse’s training — I wish the Mississippi No Harm.
Complementing the jewel are the many other smaller gems stones that make Almonte such a pleasant place to visit or reside in. Designated green spaces/parks scattered upon the landscape provide opportunities for sports, for quiet reflection, for bird watching, walking, biking etc. — natural green space, trees, animal presence doesn’t need many additional accoutrements to provide riches for all ages. It is a canvas upon which we can all do our ‘own thing’ whatever that might be. Sit, run, walk, build a fort, play a ball game, have a picnic, read a book. It is my feeling that too many accoutrements maybe takes away from the imaginative element? Much of our life and that of our children’s is so over programmed already — leave some room for the creative imagination.
The creative, artistic influences in the town have sparked new life and interest to a wide audience of music lovers, festival goers, craft and artifact seekers, artists, writers and chocolate connoisseurs — all manner of lovely additions and people.
The business men and women who through their offers of innovative, pleasant shopping & dining experiences attempt to keep dollars within our borders and avoid in turn the detrimental economic effect experienced when nothing but empty windows stare out from cavernous, desolate empty spaces. We have all witnessed the Main Streets of those places — not very welcoming. A viable, active Main Street is not to be taken for granted nor should the voices of the business community go unheeded — we need to promote their success.
A town with a book store, a library and interesting places to gather for the shared morning cuppa are delightful necessities for body, mind and spirit.
The shared history that honours those men and women who have proceeded us and upon whose shoulders we always climb offers a sense of stability of place and identity — we can look up instead of down by aspiring to the better angels that have walked through the town and left their imprint — Street and Park names, Statues and Murals, Building names honour and offer the imagery for what we can aspire to be.
For as many citizens as there are in town, there are as many perspectives as to what makes ‘Their Town’ special for them. It goes without saying that the caring, friendliness of the town’s people are what makes it a ‘ Home’.
So everything matters to somebody — it is all important, it all needs to be given respectful, prayerful thought and attention before we dismiss any of it. It must never be taken for granted or treated flippantly.
My world is the world of health care — a good motto is to “Cause No Harm” — not a bad motto for town management and decision making by its citizens. We need to move forward with care so all the jewels continue to shine brightly for a long time to come.