Celebrating a strong, creative, resilient Lunenburg County
NOW, MORE THAN EVER...
Story by EVAN HENNIGAR
I’m what people would classify a young adult; still too young to vote but too old to do something stupid without lasting consequences. I’m at the point of my life when I need to be thinking about my future - what to do and where to live.
To complicate matters, my mother is the coordinator of NOW Lunenburg County and, for the last 3 years, I’ve watched her pace the floor while on the phone talking to countless people who are considering moving to the community. She sells the assets and attributes of this community as if she’s matchmaking for her best friend. I’ve seen her breathlessly share examples of people who have created a life here. Entrepreneurs who have started their own businesses, jewellery makers, kombucha makers, designers, writers and hop growers. I hear her connect their spouses who are welders, teachers, physiotherapists and accountants to possible employers. I hear her share all there is to do; dance, hockey, swimming and golf.
“Oh, and our trails, our beaches, we have great fishing holes, too,” she’ll pitch. Even I had no idea our community had that much to offer.
So herein lies the dilemma: I’m going to the big city for school, and don’t really have plans to return. I like living here in Lunenburg County. I have great friends. I had an idyllic childhood. I drove my bike to the tennis court, walked to the pool unsupervised, played high level hockey, went to great schools, had a golf membership. We didn’t lock our doors so there was no worry of losing my key. What more could a guy ask for?
But now I have to tell this woman, this passionate cheerleader for the community, that I fully expect to leave it, perhaps never to return. Instead of having to feel her disappointment followed by a sales pitch, I decide never to tell her. I take the coward’s way out and wait for her to ask. And ask she does, on our way shopping for an apartment as I go off to attend NSCC Ivany Campus in a few months. From her perspective it was to be my first apartment, a layover until coming back home for the summer. My idea was to have a longer term place; a layover to moving to an even bigger city.
To my surprise, she was not surprised. In fact, she wanted me to go, which added to my confusion.
“Yes, Evan you should go,” she reassured me. “Great, thanks mom. Love you, too” I replied. “No, Evan, you should go, live, learn. That may be the only way for you to realize just what we have; by living somewhere else. You may fully appreciate it and then come back. Or you may not. And that’s ok too. But if you stay you might never understand that this place is unique. The challenges we have aren’t unlike those you’d find in any other community. But it is different. I expect you’ll find that the difference is enough to draw you back here,” she lectured. She told me about the countless people who’ve moved away for work believing there was a lack of opportunity here, only to start a life, plant roots and raise a family in another place. But they get restless. “This place haunts you,” she shared. “The stories I hear of people longing for home have brought me to tears.”
So, I’m going to go. And I might come back. Who knows? This is a time of uncertainty. I don’t know the future. But I do know that the idea of longing for something gives me something to look forward to.