When the sky is as bright and flawless as it is today, without so much as a wisp of cloud anywhere within the magnificent dome mounting above the horizon and all about it in every direction, whether upriver or downriver, or mirrored upon the tranquil blue waterway beneath, it seems incomprehensible that there should be any detail of human conduct so pronounced or digestible to distract from the ineffable purity of the atmosphere. And yet within the space of as many hours I have conjoined with two of Almonte’s forceful personalities, people who serendipitously hail from the sections of town I consider most pithy; namely, Coleman’s Island and my own current habitat on the northeast side of the river. During our respective confabs I was unwittingly diverted from the day’s inexpressible beauty; and aligned instead with the notable strength of individuality and character.
The first of the two notables mentioned was my long-standing friend Jill. She is the Island girl. It is a geographic/psychic distinction she has grown into with time; hers is now a full-fledged entitlement. She has started to blend in with the wallpaper. I formerly acted as counsel for Jill; but our acquaintance rapidly grew to an enlarged sphere (though admittedly and understandably constrained in a small measure by our age difference of 14 years). Our configuration – shall I say, our gestalt – has suffered somewhat in the past several years during the COVID-19 pandemic. But that obstruction to socializing has now been removed. Jill pointedly shared with me today that she has lately evolved within the scope of her own self-approbation, an endorsement which I suggested is not uncommon with the flourishing and evolution of any individual. If for no reason than pure logic, it behooves us each to confess the exigencies of our separate realities and to learn to live happily within that confinement (or whatever we may call our native restrictions). We discussed at some length – and with noticeable vibrancy – the calculated deceit and mendacity of apology.
It was on the heels of this informal conversation with Jill – and within mere meters of my return home to the underground garage – that I encountered Rob walking his faithful dog (“Monte”). I am informed that Rob has lately translated the nature of his riparian mansion from that of an inn to that of a spa, complete with swimming pool, hot tub and sauna. What he jokingly called the “Wakefield” of Almonte (an illusion I presume to Nordic Spa, Wakefield, PQ). Rob too has developed a good deal of personal history in the town. We discussed other commercial ventures. I persisted to tell him he still looks 12 years old whether or not he shaves.