Drive in the country

Upon my dutiful return from a leisurely mid-afternoon drive in the country – and the exhaustion of my daily zeal for a purgative car wash – I settled at my drawing room desk overlooking the Mississippi River with a cup of chilled black java. I was prepared to identify and capture the burgeoning refinements of life, those nutritious subtleties which distinguish the most inconsequential and happenstance details or commonplace occurrences.

The spring freshet upriver is so languid that the verdant trees drooping on the shoreline are vividly reflected beneath the gathering cumulonimbus. There isn’t a hint of movement in the late afternoon air. The deciduous branches and field weeds do not stir. The normally boisterous birds have evaporated from sight.

I and my friend Jill (who accompanied me on today’s outing) decked our otherwise unpropitious moment together by fulfilling a retail imperative of hers at Bayshore mall in nearby Bells Corners. The cosmetic element of our project did not however disguise the superlative feature of my collection of “favourites” music which I have compiled on my iPhone for extension through Car Play. Nor should it have astounded me to uncover Jill’s shared lionization of Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson in addition to her favourable introduction to Ludovico Einaudi (whom she significantly said reminded her of an American Hollywood composer). For as many years as I can now recall, going back to our initial meeting of one another, Jill and I have routinely combined an approbation of music and art. Today we added architecture to that opening list, more by general agreement than any specificity.

What neither of us had anticipated however was the unforeseen reference that subsequently percolated involving a collection of children’s plastic farm animals. I asked Jill whether she were acquainted with the assembly of toys at the Wool Grower’s shop in Carleton Place. This I should mention was upon the heels of Jill having informed me that her late father had created some singular achievements in the realm of model ship building. Say what you will, I have always associated that particular hobby with breeding. The nautical feature alone is distinctive. Everyone needs an illustrative naval commander in the background! Yet the equestrian allure of tack and paraphernalia is not to be understated.

Upon reflection it occurs to me that apart from a brief period of stamp and tropical fish collection before adolescence, I never had any hobbies. I recall my colleague Nicoholas Glassow at public school dignified himself by devoting hours of assiduity to the production of fishing hooks, some of which were extraordinarily detailed. I suspect that Nicholas’ hobby like Mike Halliday’s model ships, exhibited a composition which was more artistic than practical. That imaginative alliance alone is singular, given the notoriously robust character of both Nicholas and Mike. Indeed it is through this back door of aesthetics that one opens upon unpredictable refinement.

A happy place what does that mean.
Everyone can and should have their concept of a happy place.
A happy place is unique to everyone. Those who have a happy place have a gift. Those who don’t should begin the search. But where do they begin.
There is no one answer to this question. It can be as a simple well written thank you note to finding a great restaurant or even enjoying a beautiful day reading a great book etc. The list can go on and on.
Happy places do not last forever. We are evolving. When we need to we will look again for another happy place. You will find it. Just look.
The happy place need not be advertised to anyone. The joy comes from achieving the dream. The choice is yours to achieve. Start now.

DC, Michigan, USA