All kidding aside

Being serious about life is for some limited to political theorizing; for others it constitutes a weightier concern about paying the rent and putting food on the table.  But none of these solemn preoccupations competes with matters affecting one’s health. Matters of health are unquestionably a serious point in an otherwise jocular conversation; and, health issues trump almost any monetary or material worry. The reason is simple: health related affairs are an incontrovertible agitation. This is especially so because very often the solution is as indefinable as the problem. At the very least the projected outcome is distant and vague; or sometimes proximate and threatening.  But never certain.

Severe matters of health are frequently connected with the paramountly dreadful subject of death. There is in my opinion no way to minimize that dread, neither through religion nor philosophy; perhaps through drugs; but generally not otherwise. There is recognizably some facility afforded by old age particularly if one were lucky enough to acknowledge a life well-lived (by which I include being ridden hard and put away wet; that is, having done it all at whatever expense). But however one measures extent, in the end we are all rightfully predicted to account for a minuscule collection of lines or colours condensed along a limitless boundary of projections.

Added to this indignity is frequently the concern arising about what if any legacy derives from one’s personal history. In short, are we of any profit to the enterprise called life? My guess is that even that objective preoccupation does little if anything to assuage the more compelling subjective interest in the looming end. And it doesn’t require an inductive mind to conclude that it matters not. Our by-product and footprint are by any account soon to be erased from memory or import. Life goes on with or without us.

Today while tricycling about the neighbourhood I encountered a gentleman gardening at the front of his riparian property. Following a prolonged and entirely unpredicted candid conversation about life I learned he was of notable lineage from nearby Village of Carp (now technically no longer merely part of the Township of West Carleton but included in the orbit of the City of Ottawa). His family owned what is indisputably the most conspicuous piece of land in that area, a mass readily viewed from even a speedy passage on the nearby Queensway leading to the City. Not surprisingly his distinguished background was connected with those of equal social standing extending so far as people whom I knew or know in Almonte and who are also among those I recognize as elemental to our own geographic evolution (such as the late Albert T. Gale who once owned the very land upon which I now devote my residency).

As you might imagine, given the focus of this entry, the gentleman whom I met this morning is currently addressing some serious health issues. Like so many others whom I’ve met in similar circumstances he remarkably betrayed an outstanding level of resolve. It was however apparent that it is no joking matter. It was no accident that matters of inheritance and bequest by and to his family arose in our conversation.  Similarly however the possibility of renewed conviviality and confab was awakened for some unspecified time in the future. We parted on favourable terms, recommending good wishes to one another and always hopeful outcomes.

The truth of course is that neither of us is assured of anything. It is this blunt observation more than any other that captures the immediate import of one’s concerns. It is a reminder that there are within our present circumstances always possibilities, new experiences, new intelligence and new ingredients of happiness.  To think or imagine otherwise is unproductive at a minimum. On balance I prefer the direct assessment of things, all kidding aside.