The autumn crush

The autumn crush is upon us! It is a supremely fleeting moment, an evanescent season of life. I feel compelled to acknowledge it in spite of its annual recurrence. Soon a rush of cold north air heralding the looming Arctic snow will brush the fragile leaves and loosen their petiole from the branch to the ground. Everywhere we bicycled this morning the maple trees were resplendent with intoxicating grace.  The woody perennials, one after the other, were unparalleled artistic productions.  In the direct sunshine the tarnished yellow leaves were iridescent. Nature crushes it once again! After our brief but wholesome neighbourhood ride in the cool autumnal ether along the Ottawa Valley Trail through the middle of town past the Old Town Hall we punctuated our tour by driving to the other side of town to inspect the progress of construction of our new digs along the Mississippi River.

The view upriver from Mr. Justice James Knatchbull Hugessen’s former mansion towards the Village of Appleton was idyllic. To get to Riverfront Estates we first wound about the Doctor’s House on Clyde Street past St. Paul’s Anglican Church and the former Registry Office on Brougham Street; then down Martin St S to where it careers to the Mississippi River, up St. Paul Street to Spring Street, then straight to the end where the land rises to Riverfront Estates surrounded by the riparian parkland.

The substantive exterior of the apartment building is complete including the latest addition of paving at the front and into the subterranean garage. Laughably we have yet to see the inside of our projected dwelling. The closest we’ve come to that familiarity was a tour of a space immediately below our own but which at the time was virtually uninhabitable and entirely void of completion. The building’s final assembly echoes our own revisionist composition. Our current billet is at its penultimate stages of organization awaiting the arrival of the packers and movers. We have extracted from our possessions those which articles we intend to cart to Key Largo for the winter. In anticipation of our move (and the necessity to linger for five days) we have booked a hotel suite with Rob Prior, owner of the Riverside Inn at his new quarters on Mill Street across from the former woollen mill above the falls.

We have accommodated this 5-day protraction by characterizing it as a mini-holiday before our departure from Almonte. Obviously at our age, with nothing much better to do, it is a small inconvenience if indeed one at all. Already we have anticipated the nutritious delight of ordering a specialty pizza from the merchant pub adjacent the falls.

I may well amuse myself during this mini-vacation by profiting from the local residency to re-acquaint myself with the retail stores along Mill Street. The investigation will be especially lively following the latest infrastructure improvements on Almonte’s central business district. My immobility has as well heightened my lack of updated information. Historically I have been very proud of our local merchants who provide exceptional quality and service. Those whom I know in “the City” distinguish themselves and our local commercial environment by regularly frequenting the stores and galleries. Almonte enjoys a reputation for superior artistic production no doubt highlighted by the local residency of such esteemed artists as Stephen Brathwaite, Sue Adams, Jill Halliday, Dale Dunning, Barbara Mullally among so many others, not to mention the late Leonard Lee and R. Tait McKenzie, many of whom are celebrated by Sivarulrasa Gallery or at the Almonte Potter’s Guild.

From this epic moment today I fully expect to arise either tomorrow or within the next several days to discover that the erstwhile glimmering trees have been denuded and that the temperature has dropped dangerously close to the freezing point.  The temperature change is of particular concern to me as I prefer wearing short pants only, a custom in which I nonchalantly persist not only for its freedom from constraint but importantly because they’re the only pants I have which fit!