A Lifelong Learner, Still On the Go - theHumm July 2021

A Lifelong Learner, Still On the Go - theHumm July 2021

By Sally Smith

There’s a “thief” in Araina Clark’s life.

“It takes away a lot of things, things you never realized it could, but one by one it marches through and takes….” Araina talks about the thief bluntly: “Reading has become more challenging. The thief took it early.”

She talks about “him” waiting around a corner, waiting to steal again next week, next month, in a few minutes.

“For me, the progression [of Parkinson’s Disease] has been slow, but I felt every loss, was amazed how my life was broken down into so many blocks, tiles, and then disseminated.”

“I was in awe,” Araina says. “I never caught up. I just kept losing, losing, losing…”

“I wouldn’t recommend it,” she adds wryly.

Araina has a lifetime of learning under her belt, and though the thief has quietly and insidiously stolen many things, she’s still learning, tackling life with gusto, passing along what she can.

The diagnosis came in 2005, a short year after she retired from 38 years of nursing. “Then it happened — the start of the thefts.”

Growing up in the ’50s and early ’60s, girls at the time had a choice of two careers — nursing or secretarial work. She didn’t even think about it, she says — she chose nursing and received a Registered Nursing Diploma in Regina in 1967. She and her husband Gord, who worked for the provincial government of Saskatchewan, eventually left the province and headed east to Ontario, where Gord continued his own career (but with the federal government) and Araina continued nursing.

Initially she started at the Heart Institute, working alongside Dr. Wilbert Keon for five years. Then she headed to a paediatric allergist’s office, before walking through the doors of the Queensway-Carleton Hospital. Her evenings were filled with learning and work too. She taught at Algonquin and the National Defence Medical Centre.

“She had five or six balls in the air at one time,” Gord says.

“I learned a lot with [Dr. Keon]. That’s probably where learning cemented with me. I couldn’t get enough, picked up every book, enjoyed what I did.” She says people often asked her why she was driven to read and learn so much. She answered with a certain glint in her eye: “I don’t understand the question”.

Araina knew when her arms began to swing awkwardly as she walked that something was not right; from that time it took her eight years “to admit something was wrong.” She remembers her reaction. “It was not acceptable to me. I needed to get enough education… and still wouldn’t admit it was happening.”

Admitting she had Parkinson’s helped. After that, she began to “make something of it,” but, she says, she will “never really have it completely resolved.”

A move to Almonte was a fresh start that Araina used to make new friends, join committees, put her brain to work on other tasks, move in different directions… and keep learning.

Answering an ad, she became part of a Patient and Family Advisory Committee at the Almonte General Hospital, where she served two three-year terms on the board. “It was what I was looking for. I made friends I would never have met any other way.” Gord adds his own thoughts: “She was a bonus to them. She added a lot of expertise.”

She also joined the Mississippi Mills Accessibility Advisory Committee which she now attends via Zoom. “We’ve made some accessibility changes to the washrooms in Gemmill Park,” and made suggestions to improve both walking surfaces as well as surfaces for wheels of a walker or wheelchair. The committee also made changes at the rink for door openers, and at the library to make it easier for wheelchairs to scoot under shelves.

There’s a just-try-and-stop-me gleam in her eye when she talks about a much-needed restoration of Almonte’s 100-year-old main street infrastructure. “A lot has got to be replaced. We can put our accessibility things where we want.” With some imagination, you can see her rubbing her hands in glee.

And once a week she started to go with some other ladies to a day-away program through Carebridge Community Support, which “gives everybody a break,” she laughs. She knows, too, that her kids have her back, frequently telling her about things they think she could use.

Araina golfed for many years but now accompanies Gord to the course on occasion, riding in the cart, doing a bit of putting and enjoying the socializing at the nineteenth hole. “I’m gonna blow off that thief,” she says grinning, defiance in her soft voice.

Getting back to reading, which is returning bit by bit, Araina says it’s not cognition or eyesight, but rather “comprehension, changing the written word into memory.” She has tried darkening the room, turning off music; everything she could to “induce the essence of reading.” It’s been twelve years since she read a book cover to cover, but she’s working on it.

Dancing is also close to her heart. “There’s a rhythm there. Maybe for everything Parkinson’s takes away, it puts back some rhythm.”

She does wonder at times, though, with all the money put into and raised for Parkinson’s research through the telethons, “where are the successes?”

So she’ll be participating again this year at the Lanark North Leeds Parkinson Canada SuperWalk, which takes place on Saturday, September 11 with a Virtual Opening Ceremony at 11am. At 1pm, registered participants are welcome to join an Exercise Class in Carleton Place, Smiths Falls or Perth, or “Walk Your Own Way” in your neighbourhood. To register, donate, or for more information and details, visit donate.parkinson.ca/lanarknorthleeds or call 1–800– 565–3000 x3392. All activities will follow provincial Covid guidelines.

Araina is 75 this year. In her three-quarters of a century she’s nursed for close to four decades, been married for over five decades, has a name that few (if any) others have, has successfully (along with her husband) raised two children, and is now managing Parkinson’s Disease.

She wonders if she learned enough in her life. She thinks sometimes her life hasn’t exactly turned out the way she pictured it — especially when the “thief” came along and screwed up the planning. She asks herself if she’s learned enough.

Then she sits back and realizes she’s still learning…


Danielle Barabé-Bussières: Nature/Wildlife Photographer - theHumm July 2021

By Sally Hansen

Art… and Soul

“Nature is the place to be,” according to nature and wildlife photographer Danielle Barabé-Bussières. Danielle celebrates her love of the natural world by capturing stunning images and transforming them into works of art. She has a gift for composition, a talent for exploiting the extensive capabilities of current post-processing software, and the dedication and patience needed to create an extraordinary photographic work of art from an excellent photograph.

Take a ......


Red TrilliumStudio Tour, July 3 & 4 - theHumm July 2021

The 43rd Red Trillium Studio Tour will take place over the weekend of July 3 and 4, showcasing the studios of some of West Carleton’s most talented artists and fine craftspeople. Just twenty minutes beyond Kanata into the scenic countryside around Carp, Dunrobin and Kinburn, you will be welcomed at studios featuring paintings, jewellery, sculpture, photography, woodturning, pottery, glasswork, designer clothing and fine art textiles.

Artists will be on hand to discuss their wo......


Almonte Celtfest is Turning 25! - theHumm July 2021

By Makayla Moore

Celtfest is a free afternoon of Ottawa Valley and Celtic entertainment, typically performed in the natural amphitheatre of Gemmill Park in the heart of Almonte, that has moved online almonteceltfest.com for the 2020 and 2021 installments of the festival.

It is hard to believe that this long-running event has been bringing the community together in Gemmill Park (and online) to dance, sing, and celebrate all things Celtic for 25 years!



Pleasure in the Small Things
Part 3 of the Clothesline Saga
- theHumm July 2021

By Glenda Jones

My clothesline suffered a slow and painful collapse one day last fall, and after a couple of estimates I convinced myself I could use a lot of dryer time for what it was going to cost to erect a 14-foot pole and re-string that line. But every wash day through the winter I yearned for the fresh smell of frozen laundry. I was tired of lint on the dark clothes, jeans shrinking, socks disappearing, everything in a wrinkled tangle like day-old spaghetti. I needed that clothesline.

A casual c......


MidSummer Herbfest
A Virtual Celebration of Healthy Living
- theHumm July 2021

MidSummer Herbfest is going virtual again in 2021 with a week-long event running from Sunday, July 25 to Sunday, August 1. Stay tuned to midsummerherbfest.ca for more details about this celebration of healthy living. This year, Herbfest will be showcasing parsley — the international herb of the year. You’ll find musical sets from Ottawa Valley artists Vicki Brittle and Khloe B Music, as well as online vendors, videos, kids’ crafts, an......


Music at Daisy Dell Farm - theHumm July 2021

By Kris Riendeau

As we emerge from months of lockdown and take our first tentative steps back into the “real” world, one of the first experiences many of us are seeking is that of live performances. Remember that elusive but transformative feeling of sharing a great vibe with musicians and fellow audience members? Tapping your feet and grooving along, mouthing the words to your favourite songs? Fortunately for the Ottawa Valley, Barb (Mattiacci) McIlquham recalls all those great feelings, having experienced them both as......


Three Artistic Outings in the Valley - theHumm July 2021

By Miss Cellaneous

Strévé Gallery Celebrates Canadian Local

In celebration of Canada’s Birthday and the Support Local Movement, Strévé Design Loft Gallery is featuring three Perth area artists and artisans during the summer months. Owner Cheryl Straby explains that: “supporting local emerging and professional artists has always been the mandate of the gallery since moving into my wonderful space three years ago. I guess that’s reason enough ......


“Ditch ‘Settlers' — Use ‘Neighbours'”
An Interview with Tony Belcourt
- theHumm July 2021

Born in the historic Métis community of Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta, Tony Belcourt’s career spans over 50 years of experience and significant achievement in Indigenous affairs, the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors. As founding President of the Native Council of Canada (1971-1974), he was instrumental in creating a national voice for Canada’s Métis and Non-Status Indians, and his efforts were an important contributing factor in the Métis being recognized in the Constitutio......


Radiothon To Support Local Land Trust - theHumm July 2021

Submitted by Carolyn Piche

It’s no secret that our forests and wetlands provide us with countless environmental and health benefits. Being in wild areas can lead to improved emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing, while Nature purifies our air and water. Wild areas are also a key resource in our efforts to slow climate change because they sequester large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere.

Were you among the thousands who visited the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT......


Bloomfest Garden Art Show and Sale - theHumm July 2021

By Suzanne Patry

Last year, during the third week of July, Whitehouse Perennials hosted our first garden art show and sale. Late July is a particularly beautiful time because the display gardens and daylily field are in full bloom. It was a great success, and customers and artists were enthusiastic about making it an annual event. Beginning on July 21, the work of 14 artists will be installed throughout the three display gardens and the daylily field. The art will remain in place until August 2. The gardens ar......


A Lifelong Learner, Still On the Go - theHumm July 2021

By Sally Smith

There’s a “thief” in Araina Clark’s life.

“It takes away a lot of things, things you never realized it could, but one by one it marches through and takes….” Araina talks about the thief bluntly: “Reading has become more challenging. The thief took it early.”

She talks about “him” waiting around a corner, waiting to steal again next week, next month, in a few minutes.

“For me, the progression [of Parkinson’s Disease] has been slow, but I felt every loss, was amazed how my life was broken do......


Putting the “Live” Back in Live Music - theHumm July 2021

By John Pigeau

With live music venues set to open outdoors again, I actually feel a little silly trying to write about the transformative power of live music. I can’t, really. Because that power comes from the genuine human experience between musician and audience — and that transformative power is created live. In the moment. With music and voice, spontaneous gestures and impossible-to-describe feelings. And anyone who loves live music knows that. They don’t need it explained to them; they merely need to he......


Cross-Cultural BioBlitz with Youth Circle - theHumm July 2021

Submitted by Joanna Jack

Youth Circle for Mother Earth (YCME) will be hosting a youth-led BioBlitz across Ontario, online and on-site at the local Plenty Canada headquarters over a two-week period during the month of July. A BioBlitz is an event that involves searching for and identifying as many species as possible over a short period of time. Not only will this event be a fun and exciting way to contribute to crowd-sourced western science, but participating youth will also be contributing to I......


New Books byBlack Authors at the Mississippi Mills Library - theHumm July 2021

My name is Renée Kokonya Sullivan. I am from Kenya and have been living in Canada now for four years. I didn’t have a library growing up. I loved to read though. My only books were my textbooks from school. I loved reading through them, especially my English and Swahili books. The first time I entered a library was in university. I was in awe! So many books, such little time. I was hooked. Libraries and bookstores became some of my favourite places to hang out. I loved the smell of books, the qu......


How-Tos for Happier Hiking - theHumm July 2021

By Vickie Walsh

Are you prepared for emergencies while hiking? Is your child? Do you have supplies and know how to care for your dog?

Now that provincial restrictions are lifting (knock on wood), mud season is over, and maybe, just maybe, the worst of bug season is behind us — hiking is in full swing! Whether it’s inner-city trails or country escapes, there are plenty of trails (literally hundreds upon hundreds) for us all to enjoy. Safety is sometimes an afterthought when it comes to getting......


Two New Exhibitions at the Textile Museum - theHumm July 2021

From July 17 to September 18, the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum presents exhibitions of works by Murray Gibson and Donald Stuart.

Murray Gibson is a master artisan and member of the Royal......


Perth Manor: the End of an Era - theHumm July 2021

By Kris Riendeau

Gordon and Linda Craig have owned and run the Perth Manor Boutique Hotel for the past ten years, during which time they have made many contributions to the cultural and musical scene in the Ottaw......


Declutter for a Good Cause!

Fundraiser for the Carleton Place Hospital
- theHumm July 2021

You can now declutter and support the Carleton Place hospital at the same time!

The Carleton Place & District Memorial Hospital (CPDMH) Foundation is thrilled to announce it has partnered......


MERA 2021 Award of Excellence - theHumm July 2021

By Submitted Helen Mogford

MERA (McDonalds Corners & Elphin Recreation & Arts) is delighted to announce that Fred Fowler is the recipient of the 2021 MERA Award for Excellence in the Fine Arts and Fine Crafts, with......


Building for a Bright Future
How our Expanding Rural Population Can Help with the Climate Crisis
- theHumm July 2021

By Chandler Swain

Lanark County will see many new neighbours move to our towns, villages and countryside in the coming years. All the homes these folks will need must factor into how we manage to slow down and rev......


60+ Hockey Coming to Almonte - theHumm July 2021

By Al Foubert

I will be moving to Almonte this October and wanted to pursue some gentle-manly and gentle-ladies hockey. Most leagues in the area had younger players mixed with seniors and in most cases it is d......


Update on the Blakeney Project Garden - theHumm July 2021

By David Hinks

I wrote a few months ago about the Blakeney Project — a two-acre field in Blakeney that has been leased (free of charge) to the Lanark County Food Bank (also known as the Hunger Stop) to grow fre......


Winning Big with the Hospital Lottery - theHumm July 2021

At first glance, Audrey Kealey and Jordan Waito don’t appear to have much in common.

Audrey is 81. Jordan is 22. Audrey is retired and lives in Carleton Place with her husband Brian. Jordan i......


Summer at Your Local Library - theHumm July 2021

By Amanda Robinson is the CEO of the Lanark Highlands Public Library

Summer Readingat the Lanark Highlands Library

The Lanark Highlands Public Library has had a very busy spring. We have continued to work on improving access to our coll......


Cubacan Bikes
Sending Two-Wheel Lifelines to Cuban Families
- theHumm July 2021

A volunteer group is collecting used bikes throughout Eastern Ontario to send to Cuba, and is asking local people for donations and help.

“More than a million Canadians normally travel to Cub......


That’s Me In Here by Cliff Bennett - theHumm July 2021

Cliff Bennett, a lifelong resident of the Almonte and Carleton Place area, has written a collection of his memories called That’s Me In Here. Over the past 89 years, Cliff has been active in......


Truth and Reconciliation Program for Youth - theHumm July 2021

The Plenty Canada team is excited to announce the third year of their Truth and Reconciliation Training Program for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth aged 15-30!

This year’s program will r......


Step Up and Dance! - theHumm July 2021

Dawn Dewar has been teaching Ottawa Valley Step Dancing for years, and when the pandemic made it impossible to do so in-person, she “pivoted” (dance pun intended) and decided to offer virtual cla......


Summer Movie Picks - theHumm July 2021

By Matt Roche

Summer is upon us, and this is the time for blockbusters and money-makers, for a quick escape into the dark cool movie theaters, supplying crisp air and buttery popcorn, for movie lovers to gathe......