Walking the dog

The casualty of clean living is an early awakening. We saw the sunrise today at 6:20 am.  Following a violent wind last evening we were rewarded this morning with clear skies; and the temperature pointed to a high of 7°C. The air was dry. Though I am recovering from the disturbance of two flat tyres in as many days we mounted our bicycles and filtered onto our regular pathway.The early morning travellers included a parked rumbling truck, a dedicated young female jogger, an F-150 Ford truck and a gentleman walking his French bulldog Zoey. Portions of the road were finely glazed with ice but predominantly the pavement was dry.

My awakening this morning included an awareness that my age has overtaken me. It is a cruel admission; but nonetheless deserving of accommodation. Denial is absurd. Specifically the thought of being on the Ottawa Valley Trail at a distance of 5 km from the centre of Town with a flat tyre doesn’t cheer me at all. The recollection of nearby compulsory ambulations was yet raw. I am so incapable of prolonged walking at this stage that if I were mired in the wilderness an ambulance would have to rescue me.

No matter.  I do not consider this any more than modest alteration. Thus far I am bound to say that I am smug about the modifications. I fashion that I am capable of adapting the tragedies of life to personal expression, including for example the entitlement to curmudgeonly behaviour, blunt commentary, unrepentant wind, long hair, eating whatever one likes whenever one wants, and the ready confession of a preference for classical music and jazz, good books and fine art. I have yet to graduate to my late father’s catch-all; namely, “Peace and Quiet!


The second regime of breakfast was accomplished with its usual dexterity and delight. Though thanks to His Lordship there was bacon à côté this morning.  And peanut butter.  And maple syrup. Who doesn’t love fat and sugar! Thus replenished it was time to fulfill yet another custom – the drive, the aimless drive along the undulating ribbon of highway from Carleton Place to the County of Renfrew. Preceded naturally by a gas-up and car wash.  The line-ups at both car washes were extraordinarily long today, Friday, perhaps illustrative of the beginning of a welcome weekend for the working stiffs.  Maybe they begged off work early! Maybe they’re planning a beer or martini to set things right, to straighten the world, to narrow the pain?

It occurred to me while listening to the news that we have penetrated the winter without especial thought to the deprivation entailed by the COVID pandemic. The truth is that we’ve succeeded to fulfill our ritual habits – albeit with more clothing – with nothing exceptional other than the two flat tyres (and come to think of it even that is not entirely peculiar because I had a flat two years ago on Longboat Key – and with just as much if not more inconvenience). It may be that after all these years of straddling the international boundary we unwittingly settled into the domesticity that is Almonte. I am certain there have been accomplishments that we would not have been able to complete were we to have been absent from home territory. This is not I hasten to add intended to stimulate a repetition of this year’s adventure. Already His Lordship is communicating with an estate agent on Longboat Key regarding hopeful circumstances this coming November and the subsequent six months, assuming our Prime Minister and the President of the United States of America can agree upon things; and that our medical insurers see their way to underwriting the risk.