It was a few days ago. I was out and about, in Belmont and in the country on my almost daily walk. It was cold.
As I turned west on Borden Ave. heading out towards the fields, a headwind blasted my skin. Toque on, hood tied tight. The left right, left right of the moment turned into a slog. And then the snows descended … or better said, they were pretty much horizontal. As Borden Ave. magically morphed into Glanworth Drive, my black coat was also transforming – into white. Pebbles of snow/ice massaged my forehead.
About two kilometres later, I turned north on Old Victoria Road, a gravel surface. There were clicks on the side of my hood but my skin was spared the fury of it all. It’s not far at all to the pavement of Manning Drive, and a couple of hundred metres before the intersection, the sun came out. The slopey edge of the asphalt shone brightly. Very cool.
As I turned right onto the smoothness, the shiny blackness of the road was a wonder. As far as I could see, the glow ran towards Belmont. The sun was bright and so was the road … everything seemed so alive, so animated.
I basically blew along, with the wind urging me forward. Something caught my eye on the edge of the road, where the gravel greets the pavement. Little spots of light grey had emerged, maybe three inches in diameter. They were dull when seen next to the shine.
Later similar circles began to grace the crown of the road, every twenty metres or so. Occasionally there’d be a wee dip in the asphalt, and lightness showed there too.
I was approaching the boundary between where I’d been (officially the City of London) and where I was going (the Municipality of Central Elgin). At the sign, the road switched from pristine smoothness to a mottled tar-and-chip surface, with little stones embedded. Not really rough but no longer a skating rink. Suddenly the wetness was dark brown/dark grey.
Over my time on Manning Drive, the spots of light grey slowly expanded. On a little rise ahead, I couldn’t tell if there was more wetness than dryness. There seemed to be big patches of both. When I got closer, I saw that my distance vision was tricking me … the light grey was still in a severe minority.
As the village water tower grew, so did the dullness. Swaths of dry began sweeping across the road. The shine was retreating in the sunlight, ever so slowly. Standing in one spot, I couldn’t see the transition but it was obvious as I walked on.
And then the welcoming sign: “The Village of Belmont, 1961”. Just a few dips in the asphalt left to embrace the wet. As I approached the intersection with Main Street, the path beneath me was totally dry.
I stopped. I smiled. It was such a privilege to be in the middle of change. The sun had worked its magic.