Hark! The morn in russet mantle clad breaks o’er yonder hill!

The last time I read anything by William Shakespeare – indeed anything even resembling the marvel of the saucy Worcestershire – had to have been in Fourth or Fifth Form at St. Andrew’s College when I was between 14 and 16 years of age. So sometime around 1963. I distinctly recall our English Master at the time was Louis Pitman, Esq. who doubled as Housemaster of Flavelle House. Mr. Pitman succeeded to inspire in us the unqualified joy of language. His polished British accent lent an element of authenticity to what might otherwise have passed for archaic gobbilygook. Whatever it was that enthralled us, its savour lingered until years afterwards when studying Philosophy at Glendon Hall.

The specific incident I have in mind transpired in the autumn of my second year at Glendon Hall (1968). The event concluded what had been part of the traditional return to studies in the autumn before anyone got too serious.  I believe I and my irreverent cronies had been up all night and we were about to submit to overwhelming fatigue. As I prepared to depart I caught sight of the dawn on the other side of the Don Valley. Glendon Hall was built upon the former Wood Estate.  From almost any angle the views were spectacular. Apparently upon glimpsing the distant autumnal awakening I mechanically uttered the Bard’s poetic words (or at least a passable substitute for same), the precise words of which are:

But look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill.

Horatio to Marcellus, Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1, William Shakespeare

It was this uninhibited spirit of anticipation which today reflected a similar enthusiasm arising from the intelligence that we’re committed to winter on Hilton Head Island in December, 2021 – May 2022. Early this morning my much admired partner was engaged in communications with the office of Mrs. Gail Edmonds of Destination Vacation on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. My resulting gusto is illustrative of life’s astonishing providence.

Since we left Florida on March 19th last we have debated whether – when all “this” is over – we’d prefer wintering in Florida or on Hilton Head Island. Though we both naturally agreed that the warmth of the Florida sun is desirable, we as readily acknowledged the incomparable beauty of Hilton Head Island.  Our mania for bicycling – on paths and along the beach – also compelled our decision to return to Hilton Head Island.

More immediately – that is, setting aside for the moment the airy contemplation of our precise rental unit on Hilton Head Island – the mere prospect of the eventuality stirs me! Granted last night I had a reasonably pleasant sleep (that is, without undue annoyance from neuropathy in my legs and feet); and, this morning I felt refreshed as I prepared for my constitutional bicycle ride. As well the weather is ideal – warm, dry air and vast blue sky, a touch of fall in the air.

Though the uninitiated may fathom that it is far too early to contemplate rental arrangements for a year hence our experience is otherwise.  In any event I find the prospect of the venture exhilarating. Just knowing the choice is on the table is uplifting!