Something troubling happened on the weekend. I fell back on an old standard… ordering in sushi for the kids. We have a go-to place in the neighbourhood, that we have been patronizing for at least ten years. That’s a lot of Saturday nights.
Everyone spoke up and added their favourites to the order list and we all looked forward to it. Only thing was, the phone number did not work. Perusing the site by internet did not give any immediate information. I decided to go check it out in person, and tell them the number was not working. So I hopped in the car and took a short drive down to the Lakeshore Road. Turns out the restaurant was dark and the shades were pulled, a bad sign. Out of business.
While it is obviously bad when any business goes under, this one hit me in a personal way. I had come to depend on it being there. It was a familiar option. When I spoke up and asked the kids, “Hey anyone want to order in sushi?”, it didn’t require any explaining. Familiarity is easy because it can factor into the rituals of life that you take for granted.
The bricks and mortar places it seems, are going under. They are victim of the times. That is why things that last are personally significant, and grow more important as you age. It’s hard to navigate the arbitrary changes in a software platform. It’s hard to be told that the way you did things now does not work, or has become outdated. It is just a small lesson in the fact that there will be many standards rewritten, and many things reconsidered over the course of a lifetime. It’s called a reality check or an update.
Fortunately, there is another neighbourhood fixture that I have a little more faith in. It’s the Bronte Oak. We had a wild wind storm a few weeks ago, the kind that leaves trees toppled all over the place. I took a short drive around the corner and up the road, and sure enough the Bronte Oak is still standing firm.
The Bronte Oak was in the way when they were re-routing the trajectory of Old Bronte Road, and aligning it with new Bronte Road, Highway 25. They were going to tear the tree down, but fortunately some local residents with deep pockets started a campaign to save the tree, and they succeeded.
Although the landscape around it has changed, the Bronte Oak, over two hundred years old, is intact within a median, and Highway 25 flows around it both ways. It’s a welcome sight from a distance, when you are coming home from out of town or from a car trip.
That’s why a tree like that is generally called a witness tree. It’s a landmark you would see from afar off when traveling, one that allowed you to get your bearings and know where you were headed. A witness tree, was also the easily identifiable marker which would traditionally indicate the corners of a lot, so that you could see what was what, without the need for fences or other visual boundaries. Lesson in short, you can count on a witness tree to be there, and as time passes and the tectonic plates of your world periodically shift, you will come to appreciate such longevity.
Even things that seem rooted in life are sometimes not destined to last forever. But for now, the Bronte Oak stays. For us, it is a symbol of home, or as close to it as I am likely to find on this earth. Find its story here.