The day is distinguishable for several reasons. One, today it’s snowing in the genre of a palpable storm, the first of the season. Two, yesterday I finally had the MRI I’ve been awaiting for over two years. Three, tomorrow is the last day before my birthday. In the result I am feeling energized. These three almost unnoticeable events have succeeded to relieve me of an equal number of preoccupations. As odd as it may seem the uncharacteristic transition to Canada for the winter is now complete. The elastic has been broken. No longer is it necessary or desirable or possible to cling to the past. A quick examination of our agenda for the next several months discloses nothing but repetitive performances of strictly functional purpose.
This morning’s measured snow squall nonetheless straightened me in my expectations of winter. Until today I had imagined we might escape anything but the occasional dusting of snow – at least until January. This morning’s rude realization affects not only the treads of our bicycles but also the tires of my car. I refuse to buy snow tires relying instead upon the “all season” claim of what I currently have. Everything I read about snow tires indicates that they’re of use when driving in snow-covered conditions. I propose to avoid such offensive circumstances. Thus for example this afternoon we plan to drive to the Train Yards in Ottawa East – but only after this bit of snow ceases. The shopping mission is directed to the trifling matter of silk squares which in the winter I have habitually worn curled about my neck for warmth. I am uncomfortable with wool or mohair. If the truth be told it discloses my pretence to cultivate something akin a foulard without the added arrogance of a cravat.
Connected to this moderate vanity is a reinvigoration of my jewellery which of necessity I was obliged to abandon yesterday when projected into the bowels of the MRI machine at the Heart Institute. The native warmth and weight of gold stimulate me. I have at least the courtesy to secrete the otherwise most demonstrable piece beneath the cuff of my sleeve. I conceal its public demonstration but delight in its reflection of the yellow sunshine when alone.
The immediacy of medical attention has for the moment been extinguished. My expectation is that the MRI will disclose nothing more than I already know – incremental collapse of the membrane between spinal discs; gathering arthritis; and predictable accommodation of inguinal hernia wires and meshes. When we spent half the year in Florida we learned to distance ourselves from the Ontario medical system and to excuse what might otherwise be called inordinate delays. That convoluted wrangle is no longer.
Finally I am on the threshold of another year in my life. It is a reminder once again of the fluidity of things, the narrowness of adventure, the proximity of the end. It would offend the clarity of thought to consider this more than a moment of distraction. There is nothing of misfortune within the past. The future – whatever it holds – has at least the dignity of predictability and inevitability at any cost.
From every premise there is a conclusion. I know where I am; I’ve done with the past; and I know where I’m headed. As capable as it is of any other rude interpretation, none is better than the other. What persists as inalterable is the capacity to loosen the hold of weighty, uncontrollable ties while sensing the relief of open roads and hopeful passage. In my particular situation I have conducted as well a mental assessment of my independent intellectual, spiritual and material elements. After 71 years of being intertwined, those features are like ivy crawling upon the trunk of a tree. The frigid recognition is that no extension of any one of them will amount to a difference. The time has come to relish from afar. Thus is the constancy and settlement of the present.