Urban living

It isn’t every day that we have to go to the city. I say “have to” because as a rural cave dweller approaching a near half-century (Almonte since 1976 to be precise) I have come to view the world beyond the Irish boundary of Corkery as uninviting. It is an irreverence which increases each time I go there not because I dislike the city in particular but because I find the commotion within its embroiled circumstance overwhelming.

Corkery is a dispersed rural community in West Carleton-March Ward in the western part of Ottawa, Canada. It is located about 9 km southwest of Carp, in the former Township of West Carleton. Corkery was founded by approximately 100 Irish families from County Cork immigrating to the region in the early 19th century, locally known as the “Peter Robinson settlers”. The first church in the village was built in 1837, although some reports put it at 1824 which would make it the second-oldest Catholic church in the Ottawa region.Construction began in 1864 on a stone church meant to replace the wooden structure. On February 26, 1865 the church was completed and consecrated as St. Michael’s Catholic Parish. The parish operated in debt for nearly two decades, until Rev. Patrick Corkery became minister in 1884, and spent the next twenty years improving and renovating the church.

In fairness to the city I am thankful for the vast network of services it provides to the burgeoning particles of citizenry in and around it. Today for example was the occasion of my annual trek to the Cardiac Device Unit of the Heart Institute (to check the functioning of my pacemaker). I am told it’s good for another six years. This is welcome information primarily because the “events” which were recorded in the past year were limited to two, one of four seconds, the other of six. Granted, short as they were, no doubt yet sufficient time to have a heart attack but otherwise not palpably threatening.

Getting to and from the Unit was the challenge.  I won’t bore you, dear Reader, with the irrelevant detail other than to comment that it wasn’t as soothing as going to the golf club for luncheon.  Speaking of which by unwitting chance I shared a confab in the garage this morning (before we left to go to the hospital in Ottawa) with a New York resident whom I have subsequently learned is an artist. I now live in the hopes of strengthening this communion as I have an unending interest in art.

Laura Cannamela

And before I forget – because forgetfulness is now more than a pleasantry – I subsequently chatted in the garage (upon our return from Ottawa) with another resident Renato, a Canadian who formerly owned a resort directly on the North Atlantic Ocean in Fort Lauderdale.  I heartily suspect you’ll be as titillated as I to hear that account, balancing as it does Canada and USA with reciprocal commercial and citizenship themes. The inducements of life are limitless!

All of which is to say that living in the country is not without its stimulants. But by the same representation urban living is nonetheless formidable because the vortex of such fortuitous unions is an assured challenge. The traffic alone is profuse. And while I do not blame the Ottawa Hospital for inadequacy, getting to and from the parking garage was for me more of an enterprise than I would have preferred, hanging onto my partner’s arm as he supported me in my incrementally reductive crawl (with my stick), blocking people on the narrow sidewalk, careering the parking lot, nearly being backed into by an unobservant F150 and finally extricating ourselves like hardening glue from the condensed sinews of the city. We breathed an audible relief upon entering the ramp onto the ribbon of country highway towards home. I have no doubt that, like some New Yorkers and Floridians, bound to their urban environment, I would relish in the advantage regularly.  But for the time being – and within the foreseeable future – my partiality lies à la compagne! The cocktail of curmudgeon and age has guaranteed the predilection.

What however constitutes a marvel is the urban infrastructure most of which (apart from roadways, highways and buildings) we don’t even see. There is the indisputable network of computers and communications rampant throughout the landscape. And, if I were at this advanced age disposed (which I am not) to shop, the retail possibilities far outreach on-line activity for their enticement and variety.

Meanwhile with my bias undeterred I have recovered my chair at my desk looking upriver to the Village of Appleton.  It is a rainy day, previously forecast to have involved a Tornado Watch. This enchantment was preceded this morning by a fire alarm in the apartment building. We got out of the garage in time to avoid obstruction.  Reportedly (from my Fort Lauderdale contact) there was a second alarm.  The suspicion is that a tradesman may have triggered an alarm by contaminating the system with smoke from sawing cement or stone. It is quite astounding how conditioned we are to presume that all will end well, that whatever confusion occurs will be adjusted and controlled, that puttering through this complication called living will conclude in a den of comfort, a sanctuary from disarrangement and interference.