Images from the past

It isn’t the first time this has happened.  Suddenly I am overtaken by a feeling combined with a colour or sound which reminds me of something inexplicable though powerful. Whatever it is, it moves me from deep within.  It is always a bland though predominantly favourable sensitivity, a reminder of something vaguely pleasing or reminiscent to me for an unexplained reason. It doesn’t remind me of any event in particular; rather it is a broad though strangely intense recollection of a moment, somewhere, as simple as a laneway or a town we once passed through or a feeling I had somewhere.

Things intrigue me. Fortunately I am not one of those who must dissect things to appreciate them.  I have no desire whatsoever to take apart a watch or clock or a piano to understand its mechanism. And certainly not a car.  Nor do I enjoy watching a jeweler make a piece. For me the strength of the thing is its completed state, like a constructed house, not its blunt evolution. I have yet to find the perfect thing but there are many things which in my mind are very close to perfection.  When I get a car which operates as it should, the wheels are aligned, the wipers work, the bells and whistles work, the engine purrs, then I am in heaven. Things have their peculiar advantages and disadvantages, probably the luck of the manufacture. But there is such luck.  And when the thing has it, it shows.

When I was a boy in prep school I don’t recall having had any important things.  When I saw photos of myself, I laughed because often I had outgrown my clothes.  My pants were too short, or the sleeves of the jacket were too short.  I didn’t really care about clothes. We all wore pretty much the same thing, school blazer, grey flannels and black leather shoes.  Our football or gym clothes were always the same. As for other things, likes skates or skis, that’s about all we had.  I don’t remember having a watch of any account; and certainly no furniture or other accessories.  I got a camera one summer when I went home to visit my family. One Christmas I got a pewter embossed seal for impressing molten wax on a letter envelope. Mother always had her ideas! And a signet ring. Apart from those things my next discovery was a Garlatti racing bicycle. I have my sister’s erstwhile boyfriend to thank for that fortunate suggestion.

And then going through undergraduate and law school, things were not on my mind. But after I began practicing law, living in my own apartment or house, my accumulation of things accelerated. And what I learned to my peril was that some of the so called finest things were a sham.  I had expensive complex watches which literally fell apart. Granted the Rolex watches (I had three of them) were reliable, but the Breitling and Cartier were not. I happily learned I could get a buzz out of certain things without having to spend a fortune.

Now I dwell upon what I have. And there isn’t any longer often anything I yearn to buy. The entire retail vernacular has precipitously evaporated. Except for the painting I just got here on Hilton Head Island. The painting represents my last stand in that department for sure. We’ve been coming to Hilton Head Island for over a decade but this painting is the first I’ve felt will fit on Canadian soil – only because it will not look hopelessly incongruous. It makes sense not to be burdened with unnecessary baggage; and to be propelled by ethereal reverie.

These trifling amendments to my life are oddly stimulating. I rejoice in having inadvertently overcome my habitual profligacy. I now have more time to focus on what is at hand (though this perhaps is for the unflattering consequence of the future).  Nonetheless I celebrate my ascribed position. I suspect too that the historical revelations of which I spoke earlier are in the ultimate scheme of my descent or ascent from this planet “into space” (as my father was wont to say).