Balmy summer day

The weather forecast this morning was for rain throughout the day.  The prediction was like a bandage about my perpetually wounded psyche which forever compels me to reach for production and accomplishment, performance and reward, utility and function. Anything to sanctify my purpose. Thus temporarily released from the daily constitutional bicycle ride I regaled in the tranquility of my morning.  Breakfast was the usual concoction of fresh fruit, ripened cheese, prunes and fibre. That painless part of routine had been restored. I prolonged the dalliance at table by engaging my Hemingway devotion to standing at the easel and writing – but admittedly without standing or the customary smugness which follows even the moderate exertion of bicycling throughout the neighbourhood. Inertia is not a talent for which I have developed an especial taste. Luckily for me I have the keen mechanical foundation of the modern automobile to propel me through the shifting zones of bland habit, necessity and existential obscurity.

Normally when the weather is fine I open the vehicle windows and the landau roof to permit the wind to blow against me. It is a music of its own.  But on a day such as this, when rain drops suddenly glisten the windshield, I listen to my Favourites, a collection of Apple music I have added to a playlist.  They are pieces which for various reasons I enjoy hearing again and again. One for example captured a singular day walking along Saint-Catherine Street in downtown Montréal in 1978. I had just purchased a Sony Walkman.  To test it my first tape was one by Will to Power called Baby, I love your way.  It’s not everybody’s choice but it works for me. Then there was Hey Jude by the Beatles which always reignites fond memories of my first year in 1967 of undergraduate studies at Glendon Hall, sailing down Mount Pleasant Avenue on an autumn day. And of course the stirring sounds of Downton Abbey, Succession and my favourite House of Cards.  There are back steps like The Moldau which takes me to Fourth Form in 1963 at St. Andrew’s College. Or Born Free in the summer of 1968 when seeing the opening film production on Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris with the mistress of my colleague’s uncle. Standards like O Mio Babbino Caro which always make me weep. Or jazz classics like Etta James’ At Last which require no association for their appeal.

When the day had already begun to expire in the late afternoon, there were signs that the clouds might clear.  Shades of blue and pink surrounded the mixed grey clouds on the horizon. I put down the vehicle windows once again. As unaccustomed as we are to late afternoon bicycling we set off on la route précise. This brief outing of Total Time 0:31:44, Distance 5.04km and Avg. Speed 9.5km/h provided the occasion for two cups of Nespresso coffee. I had expiated my guilt once again!