Mardi effervescence

Upon the way out the condo building late this afternoon on our little outing to have the car washed, we passed two elderly people sitting on a bench in the lobby.  I had seen them there mere moments earlier when I returned from my constitutional bicycle ride.  On that initial occasion I had shared a cheery “Hello!” with them, or at least with the male member of the troop (the woman had her eyes downcast and did not seem anxious to socialize on any level). On the second occasion of our unforeseen encounter, as we were leaving the elevator and headed towards the front door of the lobby, we again extended a greeting.  The response (if indeed there was one) was substantially muted.  Once seated in the car we opined that the bench occupants were having a bad day. It is easy in these casual moments between strangers to misinterpret what otherwise invites disrepute. For me it is also a poignant reminder that we have so little about which to complain; and that the misadventure of others is not our pressing dilemma nor something we should allow to discolour our own buoyancy.

There are those who chronicle what are affairs of a far more grand scheme than our own.  We haven’t any hesitation admitting the purely domestic nature of our travels and experiences. Yet the qualification does not for a moment hinder or reduce the appeal to us of what daily transpires. I haven’t any ambition to fly in the sky in an air balloon; or vanish upon a sandy white beach in the South Pacific; or climb a mountain, race a car, charter a yacht or delight in the private production of a chef in Sardinia (Oops! we have in fact already done that). Ours is predominantly a purely simple appetite and pleasure. As my late father was wont to observe, “Peace and quiet!” Though it resounds of entire vacuity, it is I have discovered a state of incomparable euphoria, spared of complication or inappropriate or uncomfortable activity.  For example, when circulating aimlessly about the Island earlier today on my bicycle I chanced to rest upon a bench adjacent a large pond nearby a corral of fine horses. It was the most basic satisfaction imaginable. Granted I needed the break from cycling for the past 10 Kms. But what better way to refresh oneself than to sit in a park setting, reading my favourite book on my iPhone, having had the benefit and stimulation of physical exercise.

Remaining tranquil within one’s immediate community has the unanticipated effect of broadening the detail of the surroundings. Staying put, so to speak, is an unfamiliar undertaking for many people, especially seasonal interlopers such as ourselves who are inclined to “get on their horse and ride off in all directions“. We have discovered that by partaking of opportunities conveniently and locally available, the experience is not only less rushed than persisting in travel further abroad but also more fulfilling by virtue of the depth of the present experience. Settling into one’s own environment is clearly less romantic than a widespread voyage; but it nonetheless remains equally certain that the depth and detail of discovery is improved by merely lingering on home turf. The path to discovery is as axiomatic as the philosophic notion that we have to leave whence we came to reveal where we’re going; and, the sequel is that we normally return to the place of beginning with an enlarged view of the world. Granted this doesn’t fully support the imperative to remain where one already is, but it does strengthen the theory that the answer to learning is most frequently at our doorstep.

Curiously what I so often recall of the places I’ve been is some generally insignificant particular, not a dramatic event or production. By an judgement serenity has it worth.