In the heat of the day

At 2:30 a.m. this morning I abruptly awoke. I won’t say that I was sparky but my mind was churning. I knew I had to be up by 7:00 a.m. to make my 9:30 a.m. coffee engagement at Equator Coffee on Ottawa Street at the northeast end of Town. There was nothing to disturb me about the meeting.  On the contrary the gathering was an invitation from a man whom I respect and have known for over forty years  I have always taken pleasure in getting caught up with him whether as a casual rally or for a more deliberate purpose. There was a calculated aspect about today’s rendezvous. First, the invitation had come out of the blue; second, my friend hinted that he wanted to seek my counsel. This naturally heightened my interest and sharpened my wit. I had an inkling that the core of the enquiry was one which had lately been before Town Council and widely reported in the Millstone News (our local e-newspaper).  It turns out that my surmise was correct. It was upon these speculations that I ruminated while lying in bed for the next two hours before finally relenting and throwing off the blanket and covers to put feet to the floorboards.

As ashamed as I am to admit it, 9:30 a.m. is in my current vernacular rather abrupt for a morning reunion. It was however my own suggestion when my friend and I initiated the congress late yesterday afternoon.  Besides it made sense to prosecute the enterprise to satisfy my curiosity about the get-together. When I arrived at the coffee shop shortly before 9:30 a.m. my friend was already seated with his back against the wall and a coffee in a paper cup on the table before him.  He assured me that he had “taken care” of getting me a “medium robust” coffee which I then stood in line at the counter to collect before joining him at his table.

Our conference easily spanned an hour. We directed little time to our health and weather.  We focussed upon the nub of the conclave. Because the talk involved political elements it was an animated exploration. My friend formerly managed a central agency in the Town and had been responsible for the dispensation of upwards of millions of dollars.  He was accustomed to taking things seriously.  As might be expected I considered it inspiring to be invited to address the issues. Part of what fed my involvement in this powwow was an article I had recently written about the pragmatic need to support elected municipal officials and to avoid gratuitous assaults which serve only as a corpse upon which to stand to make oneself taller. In the context of the historical conflict between the interests being championed by my friend (and his associates) and the agenda of Town Council, unanimity had not been foremost. It quickly unfolded that strategy and tactics were critical to making headway, and that the design must address fundamental heads. This required a sharp analysis of elemental forces which laid bare sensitivities such as public chastening following recent confrontation, promoting rhetorical ambitions (openness of government), affording democratic equality and capitalizing upon propitious moment. These heady features required digestion in a palatable form which in turn meant each party must embrace the proposition as his own. We candidly dealt with the proposal and avoided sugar-coating it.

We surfaced from the intensity of our conversation close to 11:00 a.m. I acknowledged that I was due at a meeting in Manotick shortly after noon.  We closed our conference amid wishes of cheer to my friend on his approaching vacation. I then directed the hood of my vehicle along the much frequented highways from Almonte to the Village of Appleton to Stittsville and then to Manotick where my personal business went well. I emerged from that meeting buoyantly. I leisurely headed back to Almonte, stopping along the way to gas up and wash the car and to collect a stimulating cup of espresso coffee. I sped along the winding country roads with the windows down, savouring the buffeting warm air.

My revival was short-lived.  Upon returning home I made myself a small salad then succumbed to the sofa for an afternoon nap.  I slept soundly until almost five o’clock.  Upon awakening I was anxious to expiate my guilt for having squandered the lovely summer afternoon. I immediately set upon going for a bicycle ride. The warm evening air succeeded to uplift my spirits and to assuage my lethargy. We pedalled along Country Street and soaked up the verdancy of the wavering fields. The heat was stifling and there was barely movement of the air. It was a hot July day in Ontario, buzzing flies and oppressive air. Storm clouds gathered in the distance.