Friday, April 12, 2019

Signing in...

The impairing burdens of our return to Canada after a six-month truancy have - for the moment at least - evaporated or been suspended. I am recovering my blissful treasures. The mail (what little we don't get by email) has been opened, digested and catalogued. The hot water tank is running full steam; the toilets have been flushed; the suitcases put away and the resort wear temporarily stuffed wherever it fits.  Though the upcoming week is one appointment after another, today (Friday) and the weekend are clear except for what we want to do exclusively for our pleasure - which includes a gastronomic journey with friends to a sugar bush. After a routine breakfast (barring the boiling over of the neglected almond milk - and ignoring the morning bracer of a caramel square and Nanaimo bar) I set off upon my reliable Electra bicycle complete with fat whitewall tyres and comfortable leather saddle. Such a blessing!

The immediate observation was that we're no longer at sea level. There are hills here! I nonetheless welcomed the increased application - no doubt in answer to my mordant guilt for the matutinal confection. It was however dissimilar to begin springtime fitness without feeling unadjusted to the physical effort. I now cycle almost every day of the year so I enjoy a moderate degree of flexibility. Yet I diluted the purifying vigour by restricting myself to local, nearby roadways.  Perhaps I unwittingly hoped to insinuate the population for the possibility of communication.  Nor was I disappointed in my ambition. After passing St. Paul's Anglican church overlooking the galloping Mississippi River I encountered a longtime resident sweeping the winter debris from the roadway in front of his house. Soon he will adopt his preferred summer duties for gardening and lawn care and whatever other endless proprietary obligations he evidently relishes.

Further along the River an automobile rapidly turned direction and approached me for conversation. In keeping with Lanark County tradition he stopped in the middle of the road. He is a young restaurateur and innkeeper. The punishing winter weather afflicted his bottom line but he reports that already the improving temperatures and blossoming buds have brought promise of rejuvenation. He still maintains his large stone home on the River in addition to new digs - also nearby the River - so I gather his fortunes haven't entirely waned during the forbidding winter months.

It distressed me somewhat to witness the continued development of the Town. It's all very nice - the presence of park preservation enthused me in particular - but I suffer the curmudgeonly dithering over change. To punctuate the ongoing alteration I then crossed paths with a former client who has downsized from her country property to a townhouse.  She was in the throes of arguing with four contractors about the quality of their installations so she and I enjoyed but a brief reacquaintance, promising to reunite at a later date as no doubt we will because her new place is on my preferred route of travel. Her father died over the winter, completing the cycle of evolution to which so many of us are of necessity becoming familiar.

From here my performance was rigidly industrious, partially promoted by an emerging drizzle.  The largely downhill routine accelerated the return home where already I anticipated a strengthening cup of black coffee. The one last skirmish was my introduction in the garage to a new resident from Toronto who shared with me his eagerness for his recently purchased electric bicycle. The vernal gusto has awakened!

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