Liz Zetlin, a former twenty-year resident of West Grey, returned to address their Council a decade after the municipality voted not to approve Sunday gun hunting. Ms. Zetlin presented the following poem  - an adaptation of the one she presented ten years ago - and a further deputation to council today on behalf of a standing-room only crowd who applauded her request for council to rescind the by-law passed two weeks ago to allow gun-hunting on Sundays,  and to open up a public conversation on the subject.

Ms. Zetlin is a founding board member of the Words Aloud Festival that has been bringing some of Canada's best poets and spoken word artists to the West Grey area for the past fifteen years.


One Day a Week
This is not against hunting
or hunters. My husband is one.
So was my dad and my neighbours.
I have eaten their venison and
listened to their stories of the hunt.
I make stew from their rabbits.
I know my way around a 22,
a .30-30, a double-barrel shotgun.

This is about what is truly economic
and who benefits. About hearing
all voices. About what is wild
and how we want to manage
what's left of the wild.

This is about how we share these
sacred spaces.
How we promote this area, its quiet
and serenity, in full colour brochures
and videos to champion community,
nature and bolster tourism.

There are economic benefits
of keeping one day a week
for families who want to walk
through the bush, go hiking
or cycling or skiing without
the startle of rifles firing,
the bolt of wildlife fleeing.

one day a week is all we ask

And really, who's to say a non-hunting
family (and their non-resident visitors)
don't shop or buy gas or a meal
before or after a hike in the bush.

And how about revenue that comes
from sharing footfalls, leaf rustle,
dance of turkey and ruffed grouse,
the tangible proceeds of being together
in the forests we have set aside
for everyone to use.

Wouldn't it be both economic
and wise to live up to West Grey's
motto: "Nestled in Nature"?

The dictionary says 'nestle' means
be in a sheltered spot
make a home
like a bird does in its nest
or a baby does in his father's arms.
You can't nestle where there is shooting.

This is also about loss. Loss
of what's left of the wild.
Loss of a family's chance to come upon
the astonishment of deer, to hear
the thrum of grouse, to see
for the first time, a pileated woodpecker.
How do you put a value on such loss?

Is this a fair way to share our public spaces?
Gun hunters seven out of seven.
Everyone else not even one.

one day a week is all we ask

a sanctuary for Sunday hikers,
horseback riders, birders, cyclists
skiers, snow-shoers, nature artists, poets and musicians.

one day a week
to nestle in nature
to be inspired
to re-connect with our land

one day
just one day



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