Nec Plus Ultra

Although I put up a moderate struggle on and off for the better part of an hour, the featherbed held me captive until 9:00 o’clock this morning. My indolence was inexcusable! I hadn’t even the defence of saying I went to bed late last evening;  I didn’t.  In fact I was in bed earlier than usual, something approaching ten o’clock at the latest.  I can only urge that my regular daily bicycling for the past three months has at last caught up with me.


In any event, what does it matter!  It’s not as though I have to go to work or that I had promised but failed to be somewhere.  This is what one does at my stage of life  – nothing!  I conducted my usual morning purifications with customary precision.  It requires labour to get through the first waking hour of the day until the pain killers kick in and until I am able to facilitate the movement of my lower back.  Modest stretching of my limbs helps.  Long gone are the days when I began the day with one hundred push-ups.

My ablutions accomplished, I gingerly descended the wooden staircase in my sock feet to the main floor, first connecting my iPhone to my MacBook Pro to recharge it for the upcoming day before going to the kitchen. Through the living room and kitchen windows I could see we were headed for another warm and sunny day.  The blue sky was everywhere evident behind the sea pines. The standard breakfast preparations commenced, a bowl of California Mandarin orange wedges, sliced banana and black berries. Contemporaneously the dark roast coffee was brewing. Armed with my bowl of fruit, a paper serviette, small fork and cup of strong black coffee I eased my way to the computer. There I checked email, bank and investment accounts and tweaked a piece I had been composing last evening.  While I am not particularly conscious of the serenity of my awakening, I know in retrospect that not every morning in the past was so peaceful.  How soon the recollection of pain evaporates!  There was a time not so long ago when each morning began with a groan and a philippic.

It was another hour before I completed the subsequent courses of my breakfast, a succession of protein and grains.  The high tide for Calibogue Cay was 2:05 p.m. which meant that my late start of the day jeopardized cycling on the beach until the afternoon. I partially filled the gap by lounging in the sun by the pool for almost an hour.  The sun was terribly warm, almost hot, and I relinquished my repose. We then decided to use the available opportunity to complete our grocery shopping. The local grocery store stocks superb provisions.

After the shopping and on our way into Sea Pines we asked the guard at the gate whether we might use the entrance which we understood was reserved for local property owners.  To our surprise the officer advised that we, as long-term residents, may use either lane.  This is fortuitous as it means we are able to avoid the line-ups which go with the issuance of day passes for temporary interlopers.  I mention this banal detail because in its small way it lubricates the ease of life on the Island.

Once home I set off on my bicycle for South Beach with the intention of joining the beach at Lands End then cycling northward with the wind at my back.  I had discovered that the wind was relatively strong at 13 mph out of the southwest. For whatever reason as I wound my way under the languid hanging moss from Calibogue Cay to South Beach I chose to go only as far as Tower Beach. It turns out to have been a wise decision.  When I proceeded along the boardwalk onto the beach it was immediately apparent that the tide had receded insufficiently for bicycling.  No matter, I was happy to plop myself on the edge of the dunes, putting myself in direct line with the blazing sun in the southern sky.  I lay down on the sand and propped my head with my shoes on the front wheel of my reclining bicycle.  The strong wind abraded my face with stinging particles of sand.  But it could not have bothered me less.  The sun was warm and the Ocean was crashing within 100 feet of where I lay. The wind was so strong that it caused the tops of the waves to be thrown back with a spray.  There were small children playing nearby at the edge of the water, building a castle and a moat. Their father sat in a beach chair watching them.

Subsequently I resolved to pedal home.  My initial attempt at cycling on the beach was unsuccessful.  I sunk into the sand every twenty feet or so.  I turned back, thinking I would have to abandon my project of cycling to Beach Club in the late afternoon sun on the beach.  But as I reversed my steps I reflected that perhaps the beach would be drier and firmer further along as it is often mushy only at this remote end of the beach.  So I retraced my steps and walked my bicycle along the beach until it widened and appeared more suitable.  And it was.  With the strong wind at my back I sailed to Beach Club, admiring the white capped waves and blue sky reflection in the water lingering on the shore.  The trip through the golf course to Calibogue Club was extraordinarily pleasant and I repeatedly exclaimed to myself what a superb day it was!