Have yourself a merry little Christmas

The sky over Sarasota Bay is a foggy grey. The palm fronds are twisting in the forceful wind coming from the west across the Gulf of Mexico. The American flag “red-white-and-blue” is fluttering in alternate directions at the top of its pole. We have the front door of the apartment open and the wind is howling through it to the open windows of the drawing room overlooking the boat slip. Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, December 24, 2019 on Longboat Key.

I have just returned from the pool where I lay for a moment on the chaise longue. There was no sunshine, just gauzy grey clouds. It was too cool to consider swimming even briefly. Then the small drops of rain began. I gathered up my lip balm, rain spotted sunglasses, iPhone and striped blue and white beach towel and headed back to the apartment. I’m now drinking a mug of robust Italian roast chilled coffee. The wind on Sarasota Bay has the aspect of a rain storm. The far side of the Bay is shrouded in a mist. We’ve closed the door and windows. Coventry Carol is playing on my new and decidedly magical Bose Micro SoundLink. Denis is elongated in the reclining chair, reading.

The Coventry Carol is an English Christmas carol dating from the 16th century. The carol was traditionally performed in Coventry in England as part of a mystery play called The Pageant of the Shearmen and Tailors. The play depicts the Christmas story from chapter two in the Gospel of Matthew: the carol itself refers to the Massacre of the Innocents in which Herod ordered all male infants under the age of two in Bethlemem to be killed, and takes the form of a lullaby sung by mothers of the doomed children.

What a luxury it is to listen to classical Christmas music, sip strong coffee and gaze upon the increasingly grey and claggy sky over Sarasota Bay! This is how at last I shall have myself a merry little Christmas. I am savouring it like a wine connoisseur, delighting in lingering over the moment. The day however is not marked by complete inertia. Earlier – when the sky was blue and cloudless – I cycled to Bayfront Park. There as always I drank some cold water from the fountain then sat on the bench overlooking Sarasota Bay.

The weather here can change in an instant, from sun to rain and back again. It is a trait of island living.

There are no title searches for me to review; nor any trust agreements to compose and refine; no testaments or agency agreements to prepare; no bills to pay; no records to file or accounts to post; no telephone calls to make or return. My parents are dead. In short there is nothing to do but have a merry little Christmas. It is too great an advantage to ignore – as plain and uneventful as it may be. I feel a need to record these trivialities. I don’t know what it is that makes up the life of others – it is their business, their complications and obligations. There may be visits to museums and galleries; looking at the spectacle of architecture; or perhaps an athletic adventure like sailing or long-distance running or racing. Whatever it is that compels others I have the assurance of knowing – with a degree of smug satisfaction – that there is nothing I’d prefer doing than what I am doing right now.

It is a remarkable event to dwell complacently upon the present, unperturbed by the past or the future, free of outstanding engagement, accountability or debt. It wasn’t always so. Youth is shackled by so many imperatives. Granted adventure is a fine thing but frankly I can bear the deprivation! I am released of the need to produce or provide. My lingering sense of legacy is devoted solely to capturing those realities which percolate occasionally, sometimes in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning. I never imagined the confession of sublimity to be so transparent.