While my prevailing personal sensations are closer to decomposition than evaporation, the latter is more descriptive of the surrounding than the inner peril. The noticeable penalty is therefore minimally less acute though similarly imposing. At least I haven’t yet vanished from sight in spite of my deterioration. Nonetheless every day I am reminded of the progressive declension in all that I now do or may otherwise wish to do. I am plagued by recollection of the existential dilemma: because we are free, we are also inherently responsible. It’s the proverbial “you are what you do” theory of things. I find it helpful in these existential constructs to recall that, as eagerly as one may pine for the animation of the past, a subdued present is upon analysis sufficient. Clearly the collateral of decay is the removal of oneself from involvement; or, as comically observed in a cartoon in Country Life magazine, removal from the necessity to put on a brassiere.

At 75 years of age I still recall the days of my youth. It is I understand a common wistfulness though not one years ago I would ever thought to be a sad drama I’d enact. But here I am.  Pushing a walker, sporting a stick. My erstwhile clients have abandoned me. Ancient friends live far away and have suffered their own pitfalls. And increasingly I read the obituary of former friends and acquaintances. Confession of one’s diminished attraction, purpose and veritable future is therefore disheartening.

Often times I have repeated the Masonic adage that, “Nature teaches us how to die”. I attach to this instruction considerable weight.  For one thing, these heady matters are not to be ignored. What however makes their digestion especially tough is our unfamiliarity with the territory.  It’s rather like planning a trip without knowing when or where you’re going, or how to pack and whether to go by car or train. Soon it becomes apparent that “one day at a time” is adequate preparation. At the same time the adoption of the measured belief that enjoyment of one’s thriving indolence is far better than pretending to do extraordinary things beyond current functionality.  LIttle things like tricycling succeed to maintain for me a level of activity which is almost fully sufficient to expunge my dread of lack of industry.

I haven’t conviction that any of my former professional talents should form any part of my new career. Instead I am learning to adapt to different amusements with or without the advantage of expertise. Years ago I jettisoned my complicated cameras using film.  I now happily and ambitiously employ my iPhone to satisfy my burgeoning photographic abilities. To Mr Apple’s credit the collection of music on my Apple Music library now satisfies all my melodic yearnings.  He hasn’t however figured how to create a piano to compete with a Steinway.  Nor parenthetically has Yamaha. Heintzman is a close second.  But I digress. I have only to record that my lasting ambition is to be alone with a Steinway for an hour. I’ve tried playing at Kenny Lauzon’s emporium but it was too public.  And the piano at Orchard VIew retirement home is a fake grand piano, electric only.

Motoring, reading and writing remain as essential stock in my arsenal of distraction. All have been influenced by technology; and, now that I think on it, intertwined. I can for example instruct my car while driving to go wherever; play whatever; call whomever; or to send an email or message. It is perhaps the colossal elevation of these features which inspires me to aim for similar distinction. Of course it is not within the realm of possibility. My accomplishment is limited to insight into what is close at hand not what is looming on the horizon.  Nor do I intend that observation as purely metaphorical. Today when returning home from my constitutional tour to the car wash I remarked at the end of Robert Hill Street upon the magnificent colours of the late wintry afternoon, the geese flocked upon the river and the distant shore revealing its soft autumnal colours. Surely you’ll agree the view though pedestrian is artistic. I derived immediate encouragement from having grasped at the treasures floating nearby. Gone are the days for grander approbation.  Mine is now a duty to observe; to applaud the energy of others. The calculation of my progress has concluded; it is irrelevant except to me. Maybe that satisfies the existential dilemma.