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Byron Shire
June 16, 2024

Ode to gratitude

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This year I believe gratitude is the greatest gift I can give. I am grateful that I am able to live in Byron Bay and for the community that I experience here, despite the huge changes over the years. 

I volunteer where I can and I see others doing the same; I am grateful for that. In our street, we meet every few months, literally on the road, and bring a plate to share with each other. I appreciate our neighbours. I am grateful for all the business owners throughout the Shire who navigated the huge challenges over the last two years and stayed respectful, while juggling the many points of view in our community.

I thank our school leaders who’ve acted with compassion and care in our schools when the mandate was handed down. To the workers who stayed and those who could not. I am grateful to all those who ran for Council with a desire to serve our community. It is a thankless task, but you held onto your visions and stepped bravely forward. 

I thank the workers in Woolies who have served with a smile as my children grew up here over the last 14 years. Your small kindnesses matter. You matter. And I thank you. 

To the frontline workers who stood in their protective gear to take our COVID test samples – and still do – with all the risks that entails. I thank you. To our lifesavers who watch over us as we swim, thank you. To those who support the homeless and make their lives a little lighter – thank you.

To the woman who pushed the abandoned shopping trolley to the top of the hill on the sandy path out of the Arakwal National Park to the roadside for collection, I tried to call out my thanks, but you were too fast for me. To the First Nations People who understand how to work in harmony with the Earth, my deepest thanks, and I hope we can become better listeners to your wisdom. 

There are lots of challenges to work on in our area; it is far from perfect. But I am so grateful to live here and I thank all those who continue to contribute positively to our community. I hope we can find ways to make it more affordable for others to share its beauty. Thank you. 

Lynne West, Ocean Shores

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