If the way Squamish has changed is keeping you down, we propose an experiment.
Just for today, navigate Squamish as if it were your first day here.
Head downtown and see the bustling and excited tourists checking their phones for the doughnuts they heard about or popping into local shops with arms full of uniquely Squamish goods they are taking home to loved ones.
Walk the estuary with an eye to the young families spending quality time together.
If it is your jam, today, on your mountain bike ride on trails you know like the back of your hand, watch for the wide-eyed folks riding them for the first time.
Take a walk around the new homes near the Quest campus or visit the new SEAandSKY development to see the happy couples moving in or starting their new garden in their new front yard.
See the many young couples, expectant moms, and newborn babies starting their lives here.
Notice the seniors out for a stroll who are honouring our community with their golden years.
Check out one of the new eateries you have never tried for your meals today.
Vow to browse only new stores you have never been in, perhaps? There are plenty.
Grab a coffee, snack or ice cream at the Town Hub and sit.
If comfortable, chat up those you don’t recognize to find out why they are here.
If there is a game underway that you aren’t part of at a local field, check it out for a bit.
Go online and buy tickets, if you can, to one of the many local events that are coming up — like Howe Sound Secondary’s Mamma Mia!, for example. Nothing beats the hope and joy of high school theatre. And that exuberant musical is sure to put a hop in your step.
So often, those of us who have been here a while — or our whole lives — can focus on what has been lost with Squamish’s growth that we lose sight of what an amazing place this currently is.
We can forget how extraordinary a community we are.
Just look at all the volunteer opportunities in The Squamish Chief’s print pages this week. So many great organizations are doing important work.
So many generous locals give so much of themselves.
Especially after the stress of the pandemic, and the division over so many issues in the district, many of us are like a 40-something partner who constantly compares her mate to what he was when he was 20. Easy to wish for the more energetic, hopeful person of the past, who perhaps had more hair and fewer traumas under his hat.
But look at that same person as if meeting him for the first time, and his (her or their) humour, twinkle in the eye and wisdom are suddenly arresting.
(Remember that 1970s song “Escape’ by Rupert Holmes about the guy who puts a personal ad in the paper because he is bored of his wife and then his wife answers the ad not knowing it is him and they both see each other anew? That is kind of like some of us in Squamish these days.)
Some of us wish Squamish was still a puppy, but she is now a full-grown dog.
This is not to say old-time locals don’t have things to mourn or fight to bring back or change.
Some of the changes do suck. Full stop.
Feelings of pain and loss and sadness are valid.
There are so many ways Squamish can be and do better.
We all can be and do better.
But if we only look at what is wrong, we lose sight of what is right.
There is still so much good in this beautiful place.
It is all around us if we want to see it.
So for today, try to see Squamish through an excited tourist’s eyes or through the eyes of the newest resident who chose to move here for precisely what it is today and for its potential to be even more.
There’s always tomorrow for looking back wistfully.
© 2022 Squamish Chief