No complaints in the Pontiac!

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Dispatches fro the 148 by Fred Ryan


Dispatches fro the 148 by Fred Ryan

It’s awfully easy to get pulled into complaining mode. What is it about complaints, or the act, that is so almost-addictive?  And with an election underway, complaining gets capitalized. It’s more important to complain about the other guy than to present a clear and specific set of proposals for doing things differently and better, even if they are merely promises. It’s so easy to get sucked into
listening to other’s
complaints, as if griping has a positive purpose. 
Our Pontiac is the
poorest MRC in Quebec, our youth are fleeing
to the cities, our base
industries have closed (forestry) or are under threat (supply-managed agriculture), local jobs are few, services cut, our
kids falling behind, our region lacks infrastructure, especially internet, our once-great forests have not been replanted and what logs are still cut here are sent out of our region for processing . . . the list is phenomenal! 
Yet ask an immigrant from Kenya or Pakistan, even from Germany or France, and these
complaints melt away.
Put your boat into the Ottawa River at Portage du Fort and cruise downstream, past miles of shoreline forest full of white pine and red maple, few cottages and fewer boaters, breathe in the fresh, clean breeze coming off the water (no smog alerts), check the osprey nest . . . and listen to
yourself not complaining.
Cycle or hike the PPJ trail through mid-Pontiac’s rolling fields and banks
of wildflowers, take a
horse-back ride . . .
Load your canoe and camping gear and head out for the lakes surrounding us or one of the five great rivers crossing Pontiac.  OK, complain about the bugs, while eating a freshly caught Walleye by the campfire . . Speaking of fresh fish –
for catching and eating – 
how about speckled,
lake, brown and rainbow trout, pike, catfish, more walleyes, sturgeon, muskies, bass . . . all here . . The Escarpment view from above Luskville, the Ragged Chute, or the sacred –
really, sacred – Coulonge Chutes . . .
Admire the creativity on display at the Stone School of the Arts in Portage, or in any of the artists’ studios during the annual Pontiac Studio Tour, or the work on
display at Art Brûlant and several cafes . . .
Stand at the Shawville Fair gates on Fair weekend and count the big, smiling faces coming out and going in . . . notice the pride inside the arena as Pontiac kids show their calves . . .
Go for a picnic and swim in Norway Bay, Lake Leslie, Otter Lake or Fort
William . . .
Drive the legendary 148 and count the deer or wild turkeys, an eagle and
multiple hawks (not the potholes or pavement cracks!), plus the roadside porcupines, fox, skunks, raccoons, groundhogs, turtles, grouse and pheasants, not to
mention black bear, coyotes, moose, and a rare cougar. Fresh food from nearby farms: beef and lamb, free-range chicken, trout, and all the rest, plus sweet corn,
strawberries, green beans, maple syrup, and tasty home baking from local farmers’ markets and bakeries in
several towns, none in short supply . . . 
Read the Pontiac Journal – completely
bilingual and it’s free!—and note the unending events, displays, tours,
jamborees and concerts, competitions, (and sales) . .
Now get back to that
visitor from Kenya, or from Germany where there are 232 people per square kilometer – Canada’s density is 3.6 people per square
kilometer – and read aloud their list of
complaints.  What?  All they do is grin, when you ask for their complaints about our Pontiac?