The consequence of diminishment is not merely a lessening of size or things; it is also a detraction of prestige. In the process of down-sizing there is inevitable diversion from the resplendence of the patio umbrella; the aura of the carriage lamps on the brick entrance posts; the singularity of the Steinway salon grand; and the amazement of the number of rooms and salons. For the most part transitioning from full-throttled existence to one more economical or functional is no hardship. But there are ramifications. Certainly the lawns needn’t be attended; nor the garden cultivated; nor the removal of the snow in the winter; nor the repair of the windows or the roof in the summer. What however ought to be replaced is one’s private corner.
Before the elimination there were but four spaces I regularly occupied throughout the house. One, the kitchen table; two, the drawing room lounge chair; three, my study; and four, the piano bench. The remainder was a virtual incongruity. Anything out-of-doors was as foreign soil (literally). Though we have retreated to an apartment less than half the size of the house, the minutia do not of necessity recoup the former nook.
Rediscovering one’s daily retreat is a laudable ambition but one not without its evolutionary process. You don’t just collapse into a chair somewhere. The adjudication requires experiment, plausibility and modesty (which I take to include privacy). In a corporate environment (say, an apartment building) the notion of timeliness is not ill-founded. I for example have discerned through repeated casual interjection that between 8:00 am and 11:00 am each morning – including significantly a brilliantly sunny day – the chairs at the north end of the patio afford an ideal resort. Within minutes of settling there my atmospheric ascent ensures I do not suffer any distraction from an occasional buzzing bee or annoying fly. Instead my eyes are arrested by the dazzling sunshine; my carcass is warmed by the mounting heat; my mind is tranquillized by the impossibility of pretence; and I soon find myself bobbing upon the soothing sea.
There is a moderately improving feature to this seclusion. While I haven’t a particle of objection to the sequestration it nonetheless highlights by its austerity a compelling and overriding theme of humanity; and that is, this is one grand bowl of fruit we call life! Faced with the presence before us of such tremendous yield, it is imperative to partake of the strength afforded. Idle reflection will not sustain our purpose or desires; the profit may lie in the advantage but the consequence is how we interpret it.
Our early morning bicycle ride was beautifully balanced by a late afternoon swim (perhaps the last of the season) in my erstwhile physician’s salt water pool overlooking a meadow at his country estate in the Village of Ashton. By utter coincidence we lunched today with the doctor at the golf club in the Village of Appleton. This evening he hosted us for what he unassumingly labeled a light salad on the patio. It proved as always to be an unparalleled treasure!