Afternoon nap

Beyond the apartment front door along the short passageway at the end of which stands the grandfather clock I heard voices in the hallway, conversation by the lift, gleeful enigmatic exchanges peculiar to an insular snowy December day mixed with freezing rain and Christmastime. I have nestled in the den today, gathering sleep and calm. And my own happy conclusions.

Oh yes indeed I have concluded many happy things.  The new walk-in closet for example. From the hanger I plucked – that is, just enough to get a glimpse – my shirts and long pants (and the silken ties I trust never to wear again except on a merry occasion when removed from obligation and hesitancy, perhaps dining in the country with friends by candlelight at a large heavy table adjacent a wood burning stove). And the woollen cardigan sweaters still on their iron hangers recovered years ago from the dry cleaners (now gone). I’ll keep them all, the navy, the blue and the gray. I am regaining my sartorial convictions (provoked by the anarchy of weight loss). So too I have inspected the drawers of the bedroom bureau where I stored my socks and smalls and what in the summertime (now also abruptly dispatched) I wished to have readily at hand – at least that is until the green grass clouded white and prickled brown and the balcony glass froze with sleet, the river a mere trace along the shoreline of blanketed trees with spindly scraggy boughs.

I have calculated what is due to me. The long pants that I like with the pleats; the shorts that fit with cargo pockets and a long inseam; the Tommy Bahama Paradise Cove Long-Sleeve Polo Shirt in Cobalt Haze; and, the gem, the brilliance, the ornament of Christmas and the upcoming stay on a barrier island along the North Atlantic Ocean, a pair of shiny red sweatpants by Lacoste which I’ll wear when cycling on the beach and reclaiming the inscrutability of Hilton Head Island where already we’ve arranged to rally on a Sunday morning for breakfast at Low Country Produce with another Sea Pines resident from Oyster Bay, New York City. I remember having arrived on Hilton Head Island one solitary late afternoon on Christmas Eve, walking alone on the beach in a billow of snow that raced and twisted like a rally upon the smooth taupe sand, hampering me from bending headlong into the storm.

The summary of detail is my potion, my elixir, my unification and clarification, the key to open all doors. The ingredients of my character are once again cleansed and distilled. But not without application. Oh no, there has been careful consideration and assay. I have thought about everything from my toes to my head, the totality of my tangible world. I have studied the picture frames and smelled the aroma of the sherry by removing the crystal stopper from the decanter adorned by the sterling silver label.

Decanter labels – or ‘bottle tickets’ – have been in use since the early 18thcentury, as an elegant way to identify the contents of decanters. This sterling silver label, hand crafted by Hamilton & Inches in its Edinburgh workshop, is engraved with the Fife Arms crest. Founded by Robert Kirk Inches and his uncle James Hamilton, Hamilton & Inches opened its first store on Edinburgh’s Princes Street in May 1866. Holders of a Royal Warrant as silversmiths to Her Majesty the Queen, the firm boasts an exceptional team of craftsmen in their silver workshops. It is known for its commitment to ethical and responsible sourcing and practices, as well as attracting and nurturing talent amongst the next generation of silver artists.

The rooms are squared. Nothing remains but to capture the gleam and the glow. The streets may be momentarily obstructed but the dry air and wind will soon return. I have my trampoline meanwhile. I shall bounce my way to vigour! And every apparel is now decided; the one for winter and snow; the one for sailing by the waves on the Ocean; and for having breakfast by the sea. It is all now settled. I have too rearranged my shoes in the hanging shoe locker upon the closet door, including identification of the pair for breakfast at Low Country Produce (when I hope to resist the deep fried donuts smothered in melted white sugar glaze).

The snow has begun to fall softly on the balcony. I haven’t time to record any more of my obsessions. The account is for the moment as complete as ever it will be. I have restored my fallback to the present, elminating the past and kindling the future. There was always only one direction whether by any measure of logic, need or preference.  But I am satisfied to have fulfilled the supplementary persuasions. Now the moderation is that wrought not by what has transpired rather by what awaits.

We have concluded yet another exquisite evening meal with what I call the Doctor’s “compôte” a complicated combination of frozen fruit, yoghurt infused with flax seeds, walnuts and Virginia peanuts, marmalade and orange rind, maple syrup and peppermint.

Compote or compôte (French for stewed fruit) is a dessert originating from medieval Europe, made of whole or pieces of fruit in sugar syrup. Whole fruits are cooked in water with sugar and spices. The syrup may be seasoned with vanilla, lemon or orange peel, cinnamon sticks or powder, cloves, other spices, ground almonds, grated coconut, candied fruit or raisins. The compote is served either warm or cold.

Compote conformed to the medieval belief that fruit cooked in sugar syrup balanced the effects of humidity on the body. The name is derived from the Latin word compositus, meaning mixture. In late medieval England it was served at the beginning of the last course of a feast (or sometimes the second out of three courses), often accompanied by a creamy potage. During the Renaissance, it was served chilled at the end of dinner.