Around midnight last night I was awoken by boisterous voices from the balcony of a nearby apartment. Initially I tolerated the late night chatter because it was Friday night and historically I am no one to complain about vacation excesses or uninhited clamour. Though I had retired to bed hours before it nonetheless disturbed me to have to endure their high spirits as deep into the night as two o’clock the following morning. Finally they exhasuted themselves and withdrew from their starry canopy. I slept deeply until 7:00 am this morning.
It was Saturday morning and judging by a hurried peek through the curtains already apparent that we were in for an ideal day, clear blue skies and dazzling yellow sunshine! Indeed the forecast was unobstructed sunshine and warm temperatures for the next several days.
After stripping the bed of its covers, sheets and pillowcases for the wash, we then completed our ablutions, routine preoccupations and prepared ourselves for an early Saturday morning visit to the grocery store on Palmetto Bay Road. With only two weeks remaining on Hilton Head Island, our necessities for provisions are limited. I was intent upon further reducing my already limited culinary efforts by purchasing prepared foods, specifically pasta salads, Mediterranean salads such as tabbouhleh and grain salad guinoa. To these ingredients I added greens, organic and exotic fruit, premium sliced ham, smoked salmon, cooked shrimp and fresh pétoncles. My encounter with the fishmonger went uncommonly well in spite of an early morning ambition (he usually doesn’t open for business until 9:30 am). I drew my attention to what was quite literally at hand, his hand that is. It was the pétoncles which my instinct told me were fresh. We was placing them assembled on a large platter before the door of the glass encased counter for exhibition.
As I prepared to leave the store (by which I mean attending the self-checkout counter), an agreeable woman at the adjoining cashier invited me to her aisle instead. She and her companion (a young woman with exceedingly black hair) proceeded to process the contents of my shopping cart and to loid then into my Publix synthetic shopping bags. Since we arrived on the Island four months ago we have used the self-checkout counter. There were as one might expect certain complexities at first but given time and the repetition of our articles we mastered the process conveniently. It has the notable advantage of enabling one to predict the contents of a bag which in turn contributes to their portability.
I was the first to arrive back at the car. After unloading the several bags into the trunk I sat in the car listening to Siriux XM (the American songbook). When in Rome. I deliberatedly avoided listening to the News because until Putin’s assassination is announced or Russia and NATO reach an agreement all else is both calculated and disappointing. The clear air and brilliant sunshine were for the time being at least entitled to unprovoked appreciation.
Though my deteriorating spine hardly inspires mobility of any degree I am resolved to bicycle again today. I am averaging 12 – 15 km daily which I conduct at a leisurely pace often interrupted by brief stops to take a photo. On this occasion of our visit to Hilton Head Island I have limited my upper boundary of cycling activity to Dune Lane beyond Coligny Beach Park. While I would have liked to have gone as far as Singleton Beach – and though I could have made it that far – the return would have killed me. I am learning to submit to old age as gracefully as possible. It does however entail both logic and emotion. And as hesitatingly as I say so, the truth is that in the end it’s all the same. That is I know a horrid observation. It is not meant to diminish anything but rather to demonstrate the equal value of what is before one’s eyes.
I am also learning to measure my accomplishments differently. Climbing a mountain on every occasion is not only superfluous it is plain exhausting. There must come a time to sit idly by. I am not yet at the state of Al Pucino in the Godfather sitting late afternoon in the garden chair in Sicily, collapsed. But nor am I entirely unprepared for the eventuality.
Meanwhile I divert myself with my hobbies and passions both of which are too tedious or common to enumerate. Fulfillment by my account continues to be the objective. And what better way to exemplify the purpose than an ineffable Saturday!