Already evidence of the mounting Christmas spirit insinuates the parking lot beside the grocery store. The overnight snowfall has perfected the noticeable transition from provisional necessity to moderate urgency. There pervades an unspoken sense of mystery and qualified apprehension; an anxious mood of preparation for holiday and turkey dinners and Christmas trees with gifts for the children. There is a pervasive air of momentousness. It is an indisputable change from the erstwhile head-down private narrow pursuits which are now directed instead to citizenry and abundant cheerfulness.
In the garage (where I pedaled back and forth for exercise) we spoke languidly of life’s current affairs, where people intend to travel and for how long, and the dreadful pet owner who doesn’t pick up after his dog, communal complaints and whether a fence should be installed along the entire perimeter of the property to remind the nearby house dwellers (and their own pets) that this is private property. We’re all getting old and having to adapt and adjust, unnecessarily to repeat, “When we had a house…”, time to acknowledge it is a different way to live. Though frankly I always interject, “I’m not moving!”, and I point to the vista beyond the drawing room window as proof of the imperative. The savage fact – apart from the desirable neighbourhood and the proximity of the hospital and everything else one might ever require including art gallery, Town Hall theatre, restaurants overlooking the water, dentist, chiropractor, lawyer, accountant, hair salon and masseur – is that in the near 50 years I’ve lived here this is the most pleasing view I’ve ever had, directly upriver to the Village of Appleton across the meadow and distant corn fields. I awaken every day to the splendour of it as though it were an unanticipated reward. Surely a Venn diagram would illustrate the operative conclusion in a flash.
a diagram representing mathematical or logical sets pictorially as circles or closed curves within an enclosing rectangle (the universal set), common elements of the sets being represented by the areas of overlap among the circles.
ORIGIN early 20th century:
named after John Venn (1834–1923), English logician.
Then I drove my little car along the Appleton Side Road amidst the channels of snow and slush. This time of life is indeed the nec plus ultra! I radiate my complascency and well-being by reminding myself I am almost 75 years of age which has to be a remarkable detail by any account. And for this I have expended nothing but the accumulation of stories and colourful recollections. Oh, be assured, I admit I have never repaid the beneficence or worshipped the benefactor or overwhelmed by any degree my “contribution to society”. What have I to offer at this precipitous stage of my life, when every day hangs by a thread, when a missed second is an abuse of plentitude, when the best we can do is share a laugh or a smile or pat a dog, when the theft of a spoonful of MaraNatha peanut butter is as close to being lascivious as I shall ever succeed?
And yet. Oh my, how I adore it! Is it therefore only that I have reduced (or refined) my pitiful ambition so narrowly and inconsequentially that I am buoyed by mere chips in the vast sea about me? Or have I instead confronted the rude elemental structure of life, the hitherto unseen bulwarks which rise from the depths of our fashion and superfluity to push aside the rubbish and leave only the framework to which to attach? Or – what shamefully is more likely – I have only fortuity to thank. Thomas Hardy was right! I have always said so.