I live in the woods. Sometimes I wish I could see the sweeping sunsets or feel the wind as it gathers speed, but overall I like be nestled among trees. I do see some wildlife, but I am always astounded that, in the winter, my yard is covered in tracks. I can see that we have been visited by rabbits, weasels and lots of birds, turkeys, deer – even coyotes. Maybe their visit was brief or they know what time to walk about unseen, but in the wintertime they leave their trace in the footprints and I know that they are around and have been through the yard.
This past week, we had the sad news that a long-time volunteer for our Northern Learning Centre passed away after a brief illness. I was so saddened as I had just recently attended the Christmas gathering in Fenelon and spent time with him and the others there. My main purpose in going to the luncheon was to make sure that I could thank all of the volunteers for their hard work, but Eugene would have none of that. He quickly turned the appreciation spotlight back to others, the staff and the agency. He filled the room with his appreciation, gratitude and Christmas cheer – and he and his wife made sure that everyone felt comfortable and full of turkey.
Eugene was so passionate and engaged with the group. As a man of faith, he said grace and gave thanks that we could all be together and learn from one another.
I am not pretending that I knew Eugene well or that I know much about him – but in his time on this earth Eugene left his mark, volunteering his time in his retirement to our little group in Fenelon. In his whole long life this was probably a small engagement. But like those footprints in the snow he taught me about dedication, appreciation, corny humour and faith, and these lessons leave an indelible trace. Footprints will remain in the hearts of the whole group in Fenelon and wherever else Eugene chose to sojourn.
Thanks to everyone for all of the places that you travel, that you explore, that you support others to go. You leave traces of your passion and inspiration all over our three communities.
For all that you do each day, much thanks.