Afternoon retreat

It isn’t every day that invites the lethargy and revitalization of an afternoon retreat.  But today is one of those days.  The weather is windy and cool. The sea and the sky are grey. And I’ve accomplished what for me are the routine essentials of daily living; namely, getting out of bed before nine o’clock in the morning, undertaking the usual ablutions and refreshment of clothing, bicycle ride and car wash.  Sadly perhaps that’s it.  And to be honest I say so without apology or regret.  In fact if I were to outline to anyone of my age a favourable way to spend one’s day, I cannot think of any manner more ideal – other than communion of one sort or another with one’s family or friends, reading a good book, performing a hobby or playing the piano.  All of which is to say that I acknowledge the limitation of my daily enterprise but I am willing to accept that others have a far more expansive regime than I.

The summary of my moot behaviour is in short 1) a touch of exercise and 2) devotion to whatever turns your crank. Those outline the parameters. Mixed in the middle of those abstract necessities are endless varieties arising from the differences which subsume our mind and body and which accordingly complement the existence and performance of each of us. Lately I have perceived more clearly than ever before the physical and financial limits which affect each of us. And just when (mistakenly) I assume someone has everything or nothing, I learn of a recent peril or misadventure, or a novel and fortuitous turn of events, which has abruptly changed the view and perception. The good news about having to endure any degree of compromise or admission of error is that it is easier to do so than to resist advancement because of any misguided and unuseful regret or denial.

Prompted in part by these philosophic principles and more effectively by Nature’s own way of compelling adaptation, I have unintentionally discovered ways to nourish my otherwise mundane existence. It may also reflect a liftetime devoted to seeing or expressing artistry. While artistry does in some amplitude represent heightened creativity, for my part I see it more bluntly as recognition of what is before one’s eyes or underfoot or at hand; that is, my particular craftsmanship is not so much either expressiveness or genius as it is mere interpretation or sensitivity. Nor is this unflattering extent entirely without virtue. Lke so many other things in life we often fail to appreciate what we have. In that respect the value of the conduct is openness to refinement, what for me for example is the deliberate act of dissection of the noticeable features – whatever they may be – that the path of life has afforded me. It is rather like a dalliance though the woods, though paying attention to what one sees. More often than I can recall I have encountered people and detail completely unanticipated and furnishing some of the most memorable moments of my life.

The reluctance to admit to or accept this simple posture leads people to imagine unparalleled ways by which to escape the ignominy of mundanity. The very word “mundanity” evokes the embarrassing confession of retreat from the world. To be mundane was not always thought of as pedestrian. So until I am indeed “other worldly” I shall content myself with this world and derive my strength from what is at hand. And what is presently at hand is an exceedingly comfortable king size bed with lovely blankets for comfort.  I shall accordingly suffer an afternoon retreat, if you’ll be so kind to allow my evaporation.

Origin and meaning of mundane

“of this world, worldly, terrestrial,” from Old French mondain “of this world, worldly, earthly, secular;” also “pure, clean; noble, generous” (12c.) and directly from Late Latin mundanus “belonging to the world” (as distinct from the Church), in classical Latin “a citizen of the world, cosmopolite,” from mundus “universe, world,” which is identical to mundus “clean, elegant,” but the exact connection is uncertain and the etymology is unknown.

“world” was used as a translation of Greek kosmos (see cosmos) in its Pythagorean sense of “the physical universe” (the original sense of the Greek word was “orderly arrangement”). Like kosmos (and perhaps by influence of it) Latin mundus also was used of a woman’s “ornaments, dress,” which also could entangle the adjective mundus “clean, elegant.”

The English word’s extended sense of “dull, uninteresting” is attested by 1850. Related:

The mundane era was the chronology that began with the supposed epoch of the Creation (famously reckoned as 4004 B.C.E.). Blount’s “Glossographia” (1656) has mundivagant “wandring through the world”.