Sometimes we find that in our growing up, in our change and growth and evolution as individuals, we encounter moments and junctures when we are forced to say good-bye.
One of Canada’s great authors, the Franco-Manitoban Gabrielle Roy, the writer of such Canadian literature classics as The Tin Flute and Where Nests the Water Hen, once suggested that, to paraphrase her, ‘You have to leave a landscape in order to know that you have been happy there’.
We are, indeed, at times forced to say goodbye to landscapes and people who mean the world to us.
Indeed, sometimes growing up means having to say good-bye. As children, perhaps we had a primary school teacher whom we simply adored. She was pretty and kind and always interested in what we had to say. Perhaps even the entire school was filled with happy memories. We had a group of friends that we played soccer with, or street hockey, or skipping or the old English Chestnut-on-a-string game of Conkers.
Yet, those days, which seem to us now as the entirely carefree and sun-filled days of primary school, wherein we felt the full brushstroke of our childhood on a canvas of limitless possibilities, wherein we felt the yearnings of childish crushes, the enclosure and joy of being best buddies, the tears and the laughter, those days all had to give way in the end if we were to find our way to adolescence and then to adulthood beyond it.
As adults we come to find an occupation, a place, a landscape, a group of friends, neighbours where we feel entirely and completely at home. The landscape and people became our second home. The faces tell us that we are loved and valued for who we are, even if, perhaps even because, we cannot always agree.
Yet once more, we are confronted with our own growth. It takes great courage to leave a known landscape and exchange it for one unseen. It takes great courage to venture into the unknown, onto the seas of sweeping change, where at times it seems that the best you can do is to hold onto your hat and stay on your feet.
Our own growth as individuals, then, is often the prime driver of change.
There seems, moreover, to be a profound truth in the reflection of Gabrielle Roy. It is as though we are often incapable of appreciating what we have before we have to give it up. Her words ring true, however, not just about a physical landscape. Her intended meaning seems to embrace much more than the undulating prairie grassland under a pure blue sky wherein you could see what seemed like Forever. Her observation applies to all the many people and relationships and ideas and items that comprise the landscape of our daily lives.
And yet, Roy’s words also seem to imply that the departure is, in fact, inevitable. Gabrielle Roy seems to say here that we become acutely and nostalgically aware of our landscape only when the time arrives in which we have to let it go. We must, nevertheless, let go of our landscapes in order to fulfill our own growth, in order to remain true to ourselves.
And so it is for our little Red Scarf Equestrian store on Main Street in Newmarket. We have grown while remaining settled in the Historic District of Newmarket, Ontario and look now to create and embrace a wider landscape.
This is not the first time this has happened in the District. Indeed, just across the street from the present store there is a memorial stone commemorating the first store of Robert Simpson, who would go on to create one of the great Canadian department store chains, standing often at the other end of shopping malls from that other great Canadian department store chain, the T Eaton Company. (Wikipedia)
It is a reminder that small beginnings can suffer transformation. The little Red Scarf Equestrian store is leaving Main Street. Its next home will be in the Town of Collingwood. But there will be more about that new landscape in the weeks to follow.