March 16, 2016
The road less travelled may just lead to Chetwynd. At least if one follows the direction given by one of Canada’s largest online travel agencies. We’ve always known that Chetwynd is a great place to call home but now Flight Network has listed Chetwynd among the top 50 small towns in Canada. We wonder why it took so long!
Sure, we face problems similar in many respects to those encountered in Battleford, SK, or Riverview, NB, also on the list. We also experience countless similar pleasures and satisfactions.
Occasionally we need to pause to reflect on what life here means to us and our families. Many of us could place personal freedom high on a list of benefits of life in one of the top 50. It’s more of a freedom to rather than a freedom from. True, we are free from the rush of the traffic of the city; we’re free from the unceasing roar of bumper-to-bumper vehicles jostling for position in the never-ending race to get somewhere – anywhere, it seems to the observer from the country; we’re free from the impersonality of the concrete-and-glass canyons with their swirl of faceless humanity.
But I started by calling our freedom a freedom to – and truly, freedom to is real freedom. Granted, wherever two or three are gathered together the freedom is less than, perhaps only differing from, the freedom of being alone. But how easy it is to take a bit of each day here to be alone! Baldy beckoningly rises so near to our homes and so dear to our hearts. Just slip out the door and half an hour later you can be looking down on the rest of us with a feeling of great peace and contentment.
If you’re not inclined to tackle the incline, take a more leisurely but still satisfying walk around the track in the Rec Centre. You can do it alone or in the company of kindred spirits. Finish it off with 32 laps in the pool. I know one 90-year-old who does that several times a week. She’s an inspiration! And try keeping up a conversation with your face in the water.
Of course, I know you can go swimming every day if you live in the heart of the metropolis. And you can find many places to exercise your muscles. I was just making space for those who can’t climb Baldy or take one of our many trails winding through our bush. I guess I value most the ease with which we are able to go from house to the serenity of the wilderness without the hassle of traffic. It’s one of the priceless joys of being small.
One other joy of being small is found in the kinship one feels for the like-minded souls one meets on the trail. Most of them are at least known to us; none are faceless.
Thank you, Flight Network, for placing Chetwynd in your list of the top 50 in Canada.
Merlin Nichols, Mayor