A few minutes' walk away from the house in Barrie where I grew up, there was a swamp. That's what we all called it, anyway. Once you reached the end of the road, a few steps took you from the edge of suburbia to the wilds of nature, each shoved against the other without anything in between. It was an outpost of the primeval land amid the encroachment of ever more houses, big backyards, long driveways, and arrow-straight streets. The forest around it was deep and alive, and you didn't need to go very deep into it to forget where you were.
The Swamp doesn't exist anymore. At least, not the way I remember it, not as anything but a shadow of what it was. A new road has been drilled straight through it, and much of the forest has been felled to clear the way for new housing developments - as if new sprawling tracts of cardboard McMansions so that 9-to-5 ex-Torontonians can raise children in a drab, blank, howling wilderness of a community are exactly what we need more of. I don't like going back there. I dislike being reminded of what we've lost, and what we continue to lose with every passing day.
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