Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Sweet Day All Considered!

I won't pretend that our early morning attendance upon an orthodontist in Ottawa was an endearing exploit (though naturally it felt good to get the matter taken care of). Paradoxically the mechanical exercise lent an air of serendipity to the late afternoon when we again found ourselves tooling into the City for another more favourable though quite unpredicted adventure. Not long after we returned home from our morning meeting with the Gum Doc I received a telephone call from my jeweller. He advised that the custom piece about which we had been communicating for the past several months was complete and ready to be collected.

As it happened we had to be out of the apartment for the bulk of the afternoon because our housekeeper was expected and we make a point to abandon the premises during her visits.  The jeweller advised that he was engaged until about 4:30 pm.  My partner and I had previously discussed scoping Temple's Sugar Bush (where we plan to put on the nosebag with friends Sunday morning) so the two events conveniently coincided.  It was however with a heightened air of interest and gusto that I approached the investigation of Temple's Sugar Bush (which until then had been merely a point of inquisitiveness).  Energized by the more potent invitation from the jeweller, I developed a sense of purpose. I am a shameful materialist at heart!  Though in fairness I seek to dismiss the lower orders of such immorality by fashioning it as artistic expression (a self-serving posture which I wisely choose to leave unexamined).

As with any especially pleasant anticipation, much (if indeed not most) of the fieriness is in its contemplation.  Accordingly as we cheerfully directed ourselves to Lanark Township in search of Temple's Sugar Bush (about which we had heard but never seen) I found my chakra rising to new heights. Our arrival at the Sugar Bush instantly took us to even more favourable planes. The place is in my opinion a positive gem, magnificently laid out, constructed and displayed.  Though we were close to exceeding the maximum level of retail activity (which ends Wednesday - Sunday daily at 3:00 pm) we nonetheless received a cheerful reception from the several staff members still bustling about, including by chance a woman whom I first met at the Land Registry Office in Almonte many years ago.  She ended by giving us the cook's tour of the running sap including some tiny samplings which we enjoyed very much.  She also assisted us in planning some special attention for our upcoming Sunday morning guests. Two of our number will soon be celebrating their birthdays. In lieu of a cake we settled upon individual maple sugar tarts - an ideal alternative to my thinking!

Our congress with the jeweller went extremely well.  The seance represented the fruition of not only months of work by the accomplished jeweller (whose late father coincidentally I had also dealt with years before at the same traditional office on Sparks Street) but also a considerable period of deliberation by me about how if at all I intended to recapture (and subsequently vindicate) my erstwhile passion for 18K gold. Most of my bling collection I had in a moment of atypical modesty and reasoned economy jettisoned to a Toronto auctioneer. I am pleased to report that reascending to this upper atmosphere was not at all precipitous.  It was last year that  I had first contemplated dealing with a merchant near Miami, Florida - whose random website succeeded very handily to enthral me.  Fortunately I decided against cavorting with an American firm when I knew there was a capable resource in nearby Ottawa (though at the time I wasn't certain the estimable jeweller would care to undertake the project I had in mind).  It turns out he was not only prepared to assess the plan; he was quite enthusiastic to do so for the mere novelty of it.  I am accustomed to jewellers who remind me more often than I care to be told that most people (which in the vernacular of jewellers usually means women) don't care to have particularly weighty items.  I guess its a strictly pragmatic decision - a physical issue (though it may have something to do with the cost as well).  Anyway, the short story today was that after a brief address of a point involving the opening and closing of the not insubstantial clasp, the new polished piece was handed over to me and the commercial detail concluded.

This might appear to be the end of the tale.  But the truth is - as my insightful partner knows only too well - it was just "Day One".  My acclimatization to the new piece is akin to an oyster dealing with a newly inhabited grain of sand - adjustment on many levels is required before reaching the pinnacle of satisfaction and insinuation.  The obvious parameters are a careful examination of colour, feel, mechanics, measurements (length, width, depth and weight) and a host of artistic features peculiar to time of day, ambient light and temperature.  All this takes time to absorb.

Indeed it was well into the second day before I allowed myself the supreme privilege of removing the piece temporarily. Again this morning the day began with yet another medical attendance (this time an optometrist).  But late this afternoon - fully 24 hours after the fact - we conducted ourselves by bicycle along Country Street for an improving bit of exercise.

As I said, the tactile element of jewellery is not to be disregarded. Some careful planning as to wardrobe and mobile facility is mandatory for a complete test. This adventure was in turn followed by an equally indulgent tour in my automobile to the car wash and a soothing drive along the winding highway through the bucolic fields near the Village of Ashton.  The sun was shining brilliantly. The temperature was climbing.  Today was probably the first real day of Spring!  This further promoted my desire to capture the unique views of the area.  Accordingly I headed to the Old Town Hall in Almonte where I knew I could likely find a parking space next to the swelling banks of the Mississippi River.

The Ontario sky at this time of year is singular.  Even though the trees haven't yet bloomed there is an  inescapable burgeoning strength to everything - symbolized by the running of the sap which only hours before we had witnessed full force, gallons of sweet water pouring into large steel vats.

Spring Frechet

Our journey from Longboat Key to Almonte began only two weeks ago.  During that time we have been steady to a fault.  While we haven't yet concluded all matters we have certainly made headway.  It helps that - touch wood - what we've done is all good.  And we're indebted to the numerous parties who have provided professional advice, friendship and love along the way.  As we launch into Spring - with the weather report promising sunny skies and even warmer temperatures - the harshness of the winter and the dilemmas we've had to address begin to melt and recede.

Post Scriptum Photos from Temple's Sugar Bush

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