It is natural on a gloomy day when approaching the end of the year to be drawn into remorse. The drizzly mist hangs upon the low ceiling; the dampened buildings and sidewalks are reduced to taupe. The prospect of ending one year and starting another promotes pangs of conscience, a broad reflective disposition perhaps enhanced by an element of reconstruction.
Not everyone feels the necessity to rebuild. For some each day is cause for rejoicing, applauding what has transpired. I nonetheless embrace the opportunity to reconsider the past, an evaporation which has taken place more quickly than I ever imagined. Like one escaping from a drifting canoe at a mooring I hasten to regain my foothold and balance, grasping at something permanent in an altogether awkward and unbecoming manner. Yesterday a younger man opined that he saw good reason to adopt universal euthanasia for people 77 years of age – not as some perverse economic solution but rather as a favour to avoid the inevitable descent into dementia and the other predictable casualties of old age. While I hadn’t any specific objection to the thesis it nonetheless caused me philosophic alarm in view of my proximity to the proposed dénouement. Death is such an inappropriate gift even if delivered on pretty stationery.
Last evening Princess Leah echoed my elevation of the present as the beginning and the end. She drew herself up, tossed back her auburn hair and nodded with approval from the other side of the dinner table when I surmised there is no past, no future, only the present. Though in the minds of many the proposition is plainly preposterous I defy any to prove it wrong. The closest I come to adopting the alternative is the recognition of life as a stewed mixture of ingredients; what’s in the pot is what was and what is and maybe what will be. Drawing the line between any one of them is impossible. We’re caught in the present.
This is no disappointment. From the worse perspective there are those who are no longer whinnying among us. I prefer to recall my fond affection for them. There is no ingenuity on my part – psychological, emotional or spiritual – that will in any way alter the detail. My celebration is nothing more or less magical than my current view of a foggy Sarasota Bay, the jazz composition of Stan Getz and Bill Evans, the stimulant of French roast coffee, the prospect of cold salmon and raw vegetables adorned with lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil, tomorrow’s upcoming celebration of New Year’s Eve with our neighbours and the anticipated return of sunshine though with cooler temperature.
My relook at the past hasn’t the commercial overtone of material assessment. The days of measuring my productivity have expired. The damage is done and what subsists has been transferred to the agency of others. All that now matters is health and escaping the snow. The chronology of the past year is an agenda of medical attendances too tiresome to repeat. It is a peculiar existence to skip between two countries for equal adjournment. The strength of each is both heightened and dissolved by the unprejudiced division. We are lonely adventurers upon the open sea. It is by design that we have melded into remote barrier islands.