Country café

After breakfast this morning at the golf club we toddled northward to the Madawaska River in the Village of Burnstown in the County of Renfrew. It was a leisurely drive from the Village of Appleton towards the Ontario provincial hinterland of Algonquin Park and La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve along the the route once travelled by erstwhile adventurers, coureurs de bois, railway and waterway commerce from the St Lawrence River. The pathway is to this day remarkably forested and seemingly unspoiled by centuries of human intervention.

Coureurs des bois were itinerant, unlicenced fur traders from New France. They were known as “wood-runners” to the English on Hudson Bay and “bush-lopers” to the Anglo-Dutch of New York. Unlike voyageurs, who were licensed to transport goods to trading posts, coureurs des bois were considered outlaws of sorts because they did not have permits from colonial authorities. The independent coureurs des bois played an important role in the European exploration of the continent. They were also vital in establishing trading contacts with Indigenous peoples.

Neat Café where we landed was alive with languishing summer vacationers including cyclists, girlfriends enjoying exotic flatbreads, solo individuals and family with their dogs. We secured one of the last available tables on the patio. A cappuccino and homemade sweet constituted our price of admission.

Having surpassed the Canadian and American central summer holidays on July 1st and 4th, we begin the predictably rapid descent. The late afternoon sunshine preserves the radiated pleasure but one can count on a speedy evaporation of time. We divert ourselves meanwhile with trifling ambitions for which I have nonetheless hopeful conclusion. At times I feel it is shameful to have such an effortless agenda. But in an atmosphere of reduced interest in retail, current exhaustion of travel imperative, mounting immobility, incremental aging, exuberance for napping and a passion for prunes, it requires only the basics to moderate our interest.