Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Winter Lull

The yellow sunlight pours through the tall narrow windows at the front of my office. Everything within is bathed in honey-coloured light. It is mid-winter and commerce has entirely subsided. I am just as happy for the reprieve. It is a positive delectation to be so inordinately peaceful. Meanwhile I occupy myself by imagining what if anything I can do to improve the physical environment but conclude it is saturated. Nonetheless I place a call to an upholsterer to enquire about having a roller towel made for the bathroom to replace the threadbare towel made years ago by a gentleman no longer whinnying among us. Otherwise I admit this is likely to be it forever apart from the on-going maintenance. I am at the opposite end of my career. Even if I were to indulge in idle speculation about the future it is better not to disturb the character of what has been developed over the past thirty-five years. I remember when I took over the business of the old lawyer who retired at 82 years of age after fifty-six years of practice there was still a hand-operated Gestetner copier and pot-bellied oil stove in his office. Each era has its patina.

Another happy accident of reduced trade is my inclination to get some much needed exercise. Though it is bitterly cold this morning, I walked to work, enjoying huffing and puffing the dry, cold air which came straight out of the Northwest accompanied by a fairly strong wind blasting directly into my face. I’ll have the wind on my back when I return home for lunch. The River was mostly frozen. I recall how on another cold and windy Tuesday, March 29, 1881, when the roads were impassable because of their bad condition, the Town became aware of the loss of one of its prominent citizens, Dr. William Mostyn, who drowned on the Mississippi River while attempting to attend a patient in the Village of Appleton. He was last seen at 4:30 p.m. by Adam Tesky, who accompanied him to the landing stage. About a mile down River from Appleton, the Doctor fell from his skiff and his great fur coat dragged him to the bottom of the River at Gleeson’s Bay.

We shall attend a meeting at the Town Hall this evening at five o’clock. A Solicitor from Perth has been asked to address Council and members of the Municipality’s various boards and committees about “Conflict of Interest” issues. While I don’t suspect that those of us on the Power Corporation Board will ever have reason to debate such considerations, I am more anxious to see the lawyer who is speaking since I recently had a deal with him but never met him in person. Such is the alienating effect of electronic registration.

My contractor culminated his work on the vacant upstairs apartment yesterday by bringing me his Statement of Account which I settled immediately. This morning I visited the apartment to inspect the finished product. It is small but very comfortable and certainly polished within an inch of its life. I have been advertising the apartment for over a month but without generating any material interest. Activity at every level is stunted at this time of year.

Gradually the blue skies are being replaced by wisps of grey clouds and it appears that there is snow on the horizon. Flurries are churned up now and again. The atmosphere is more peculiarly wintry. The wind makes the trees creak. We’re still warm inside, however. I cranked the heat and opened the throttle on the vents. It is cozy here among the thick ruby rugs.

I permit myself the supreme satisfaction of dozing in my chair after lunch, my head falling towards my chest. It is so quiet. But I keep my hand on the tiller like a locomotive trainman on the long, boring stretches across the prairies. Just in case. These brief mid-day respites multiple the returns one hundred fold, a complete lapse from the journey, revitalizing oneself for the next round.

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