“To be everlastingly passing through dangers which we know cannot scathe us, to be taking oaths which we know cannot bind us, to be defying enemies who we know cannot conquer us—this is the grinning tyranny of decadence which is called freedom.”
Excerpt From: Gilbert Keith Chesterton. “The Defendant”
Sunday morning for me no longer includes worship service – which historically I recall having last attended over twenty years ago at St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Almonte. When not obliged to perform my duties as Warden of the church I preferred the eight o’clock service which was an intimate gathering in the choir pews without children and solely dedicated to prayers and communion. There was no sermon. Though the Sabbath is still a day of rest and of communion in a different way its conventions now compromise choral music and light reading from which arises the inevitable possibility of learning something new. And so I did today. When looking up Priapus – whom I like as Greek gods go – I learned he was (among other notable traits) the patron of seafarers. It is perhaps an amusing coincidence that Priapus – who is commonly invoked as a symbol of health and protector of livestock and gardens – was first mentioned in the Genesis creation narrative where the seventh day is set aside as day of rest. This may account for Priapus’ reputation as a minor rustic fertility god marked by an oversized permanent erection.
This robust dynamic was all news to me – though I have since been told that in Montréal there was formerly a nightclub called “Priape“. The allusion would likely have been lost on me. My own enlightenment this morning arose more specifically from Mozart’s “Requiem in D Minor“. It was under this celestial sphere that I commenced my constitutional bicycle ride to Bayfront Park.
The ride was alive with its sunshine brilliance, sudden intoxicating glimpses of the emerald sea behind a low curtain of grape bushes and the brief but invigorating exchanges with passers-by each of whom made be wonder “Where are you from, where are you going and what do you do?” There was naturally no more answer to these simple questions than there was concerning the overwhelming fortuity of any of us being here at all.
The highlight of the day was a convention of residents by the pool during the afternoon. There was sharing of acquaintances, jokes and reminiscences. There was talk of fishing, what could be caught, what could be eaten, what was required to be thrown back. Then there was chat of sailing – the image of white wedges on the face of the sea, and learning to sail starting from the smallest skiff to the larger yachts. Discussions of the ambient temperature and that of the pool predominated. Some dared to venture into the pool but only made it to their hips. Others strategically – and by obvious design – prepared for the cocktail hour at 4:00 o’clock, the deprivation of which they clearly had no intention of suffering.