I BLINKED MY EYES AND SUMMER WAS OVER, BUT WHAT A RIDE IT WAS!
By Mathew Pettit
Hey folks, Mathew here with his very own take on the SUMMER THAT WAS.
I’m sure I can find a relatable audience with a few choice words here: very hot, very cold. Ups, downs. CONFUSION. But most importantly, biking.
Aye! This has been the summer of BIKES.
For the past 8 weeks, I’ve been leading a tour of cyclists through the heart of ORILLIA, catching glimpses of the city that IS, but also WAS.
From the Mnjikaning Fish Weirs, a meeting place with historic and cultural significance dating back a certain 3000 years, to the newly renovated and beautiful Couchiching Craft Brewery. Two quite distinctly different meeting places, with different practices culturally and spiritually, albeit both meeting places nonetheless. The WAS, and the IS. And both part of the Humdinger Bicycle Tour known as Pedals, Pints and Pubs.
You may be thinking, “Wait, your job was to take people on bike rides around the nicest places in Orillia?” And maybe you want that to be your life too, and I would 100% recommend it. But it wasn’t always SUNSHINE. (It was). There were deadlines to meet, and bike tire tubes to change. Sometimes I had to explore outside of Orillia, and discover great places like Big Chute and Quayle’s Brewery.
Looking backwards is always a funny thing. This summer was a tornado! Was it the new experiences? The struggle of balancing the work-life-sleep triangle? (As a professional, I have learned, you choose two. I chose work and life!) Whatever it was, we are coming to the FALL, and I am so grateful to have been here for it all.
Through Humdinger, there was a theme slowly developing to my summer: abundance through community. Every person I met had a story, had lived experiences, had more knowledge than me on SOMETHING! Whether it was stories about neurosurgery (yes that happened), radiology, travelling to crazier places than I have yet to, or just a friendly smile and a zest for life. People who did the tours instilled in me such a deep sense of gratitude for life. I can look back on the weeks that were and say, “I was there. In Orillia. And it was spectacular.”
We can say that Orillia has had a very colorful history. And this summer, I had a chance to really dig deep. And what I learned I was able to share with the people who came on our tours!
Did you know, for example, that ORILLIA has been AROUND for quite some time – through fires, adversity, riots and some generally unpleasant behaviors. But here we are! Biking! And my oh my, is Orillia beautiful if you know where to look!
I’ve become quite proficient in finding the beauty in Orillia, whether it is cruising along the waterfront from my second-favorite park, Couchiching, to my favorite, Tudhope. The spirit of Mariposa is seen, heard and felt here. A truly (folking) magical place.
I would like to give my thanks to everyone who took part in the bike tours, and to Sara, Lisa, and Taylor for being some of the most chill and wonderful people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work for.
SEE YA NEXT SUMMER, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING. MATT OUT!