After a remorselessly sleepless night, having been up and down literally every hour on the hour at ten o’clock, eleven o’clock, midnight, one o’clock and two o’clock, I hadn’t the least expectation this morning when at last I awoke from an undisturbed four-hour sleep that there would be anything of a singular nature today. It may have counted as a signal of novelty that I diminished the customary size of my steel cut oats to one-quarter cup instead of half; or that I began my breakfast with a Sumo orange instead of a green apple. But I wasn’t prepared for anything outrageously different. I still had my poisonous antidote of walnuts and maple syrup. The invariability of my morning was only fortified by the plainness of my bicycle ride. The world – though unprovocative – appeared mundane to a fault. The sidewalk was characteristically flat and uniform.
On my way back from a repetitive stop on the bench at Bayfront Park – distinguished only by a young boy struggling with his fishing tackle on the dock – I remarked with a degree of astonishment upon the superbly clear and cloudless sky. It was an arresting dome of indisputable perfection! Shamefully I had failed until then to take notice of it.
As a gesture of acknowledgement of the sublimity of the day and to absorb more of the creamy warm sunshine I thought to extend my ride to the southern end of the island at the bridge to Sarasota. But I went only partly beyond my usual jaunt and turned back home. Once there it was the work of a moment before I capitulated my bicycle and strode with bulldog spirit and gusto to the pool. I realized along the way that I had forgotten my Apple ear pods to listen to Ludovico Einaudi but I decided against retracing my steps and went directly to a chaise longue, removed my boat shoes (but not my socks – it was a cool day, a wind from the north) and my Apple watch then spread the striped blue and white beach towel on the back of the chair and lay down comforted by my Polo shirt and Patagonia fleece. I wore my bright orange bathing suit. I had also chosen my favourite bling this morning before heading out on my bike because I knew I could at least partially secrete it at the end of the sleeve while still retaining a glimpse of its texture. It captured the purity of the sun!
I stretched out on the chaise longue and promptly fell asleep. I dreamed. About what I cannot recall. But as daydreams go it was pleasant, something to do with other people, something convenient and productive. Occasionally I awoke when aware of making a snoring sound or throaty gurgle but soon relapsed into my reverie. This pattern continued for a full hour before I revived myself and went for a swim in the heated pool. There was no one else about. The calm and peacefulness was indescribable. The water was clear and cool but not cold.
Afterwards I dried myself and my tousled hair and lay down again. The wind wafted about me in my cocoon of fleece. The shadows of the racing palm fronds were mottled in the air. What pleasing arrogance it was to lay by a pool on an exquisitely sunny day while wearing white woollen socks! In my half-awakened state I gazed about, catching a glimmer of the palms dancing before my eyes, the yachts in the slip, the expansive green lawns. The colours were vibrant. The atmospheric high had succeeded to cleanse everything. The distant waving palms overlooking the blue waters of Sarasota Bay were picturesque.
“Oh yes, but then, you see, you are a philosopher. Have you any talents, or ability in any direction—that is, any that would bring in money and bread? Excuse me again—“
Fyodor Dostoyevsky. “The Idiot.”