Warning: the following was written by a stressed, morose, and overtired Bumble.
Sometimes, not always, but sometimes I worry about the future of letterboxing in Ontario. I've been boxing for a little over two years now and have a pretty good idea about who's out there and actively letterboxing. And those are some tiny numbers for such a vast geographic area.
Last year while I was actively planting on a regular basis, I was accordingly also receiving box find emails through AQ on a regular basis. This year, that has significantly dwindled. Which is to be expected; most "local" (read: Ontario, huge) boxers have found most of my boxes. The ones that have few finders will continue to only have a few finders for whatever reason. Others get a lot of traffic from letterboxers just passing through - and actually my first letterbox is great for this because the location is nice and close to the nearest highway.
This year, it would seem that there was a spurt of boxes planted by new boxers out in Jigg & Kenlaur territory. And then a longer spurt out in Viking & Starhexen territory. New boxer in Ajax, planting away as well. But nada in Toronto where the greatest number of people live.
So the concerning equation is such: no new boxers = no new finds. Also no new letterboxes by new boxers. I know I can rely upon our community to continue planting, and so will I, but on some level isn't that a disincentive to continue letterboxing? That the same letterboxers are planting the same style boxes all the time? Maybe disincentive is too strong, but for the casual letterboxer, is not boredom the enemy?
Is letterboxing growing or dying here? I worry that all it would take is a few key players out of this game for it to fizzle out in short order. But is decline inevitable anyway? How many boxers does the hobby need here for it to be self-sustaining? What is the critical mass? For those who've been boxing here longer than me, are you seeing trends? I loathe to think that there needs to be an active recruitment of boxers in Ontario; however, will the hobby die out without it?
And so, how did Jiggs and Lone R (who I understand were pretty much the first Ontarian boxers) continue with the hobby in the face of a dearth of knowledge about it here? Were their first plants more like throwing a message in a bottle in the St. Lawrence - full of hope that in the theoretic future someone in Ireland would find their note? Was it truly just that speculative? What a defiant act of hope...
And really, I should have nothing to complain about. I have an established, if small, friendly and engaged community of boxers who are sure to entice others to the game. There are plenty of boxes by foreboxers out there for me to find still, there is plenty of boxing to do just across the border, and I can be just as hopeful about the future of letterboxing as the others. Time to plant some more boxes and stop whining. I mean, it could be worse: I could be in Nunavut.