A summer reporter’s initiation
By Angela Long
June 7, 2016
The farmers’ market is in full swing. “I’d better get some asparagus before he runs out,” I overhear. I pass a booth called “Sin a Little” and think – good idea.
As I walk along Head Lake trail eating a Rolo cupcake, I can’t believe my luck. Three months, here, reporting for the Haliburton Echo. Toronto, where I live with an Italian husband and a longhair cat, where I’m due to start my second year of a masters of journalism program in September, feels like another planet. Caramel sticks to my fingers. Head Lake sparkles. Everyone I meet smiles and looks me in the eye.
While on my way to the Sculpture Forest, I get stuck in a traffic jam crossing the bridge. I roll down my windows and hear birds chirping. I look to the right to a shoreline of vivid green. I think of the day I drove to Haliburton, stuck on the 401 with transports on either side, breathing in exhaust.
After many years of travelling the world and writing stories, I can say that crossing Haliburton County line felt like coming home. My late grandmother was born in nearby Fenelon Falls. The smell of lakewater, the taste of Kawartha Dairy’s tiger tail ice cream, the sight of wildflowers lining the road – these are memories I’ve carried with me in my suitcase. Every road I pass beckons, promising a lakeside cottage, a funky artist’s studio, a field of strawberries. And you, the residents of Haliburton County, beckon with the kind of community spirit my grandmother cherished.
When I arrive home and snap the ends off the asparagus, as the vendor at the farmers’ market suggested, I feel like I’m about to taste what the summer ahead promises. I taste the carefully cultivated flavour only a small town can offer. I taste a freshness that makes me smile. I taste the best asparagus of my life.