“when the old boughs wither,
we thrust new ones into a chimney”

Excerpt From
The Dunciad: An heroic poem. In three books.
Alexander Pope

Keeping things burning is foremost a matter of choice. I know of nothing from which one is prohibited by logic or presumption from removing oneself. But if one should make the mistake of continuing a journey without the requisite approbation, be prepared for smouldering ashes! Sitting by the fire is not the answer.  Instead the active potion is favourability or passion or desire; and then the hearth will burn agreeably. Then, you will discover the lubrication for purpose and effort.  As I am wont to repeat, “If you do what you like, you’ll like what you do!” Call me an existentialist.

a philosophical theory or approach which emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will

Generally taken to originate with Kierkegaard and Nietzsche, existentialism tends to be atheistic (although there is a strand of Christian existentialism deriving from the work of Kierkegaard), to disparage scientific knowledge, and to deny the existence of objective values, stressing instead the reality and significance of human freedom and experience. The approach was developed chiefly in 20th-century Europe, notably by Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Simone de Beauvoir

With the natural effluxion of time the capital which fuels our experience of life diminishes unless replenished. Or, as I heard it said today on the bicycle path when communicating with another, “The wind is out of one’s sails“. Now I won’t persuade myself for a moment that I can reinforce obsolescence. Instead I’ve opted for re-engineering, a re-enactment spirited by simplicity and dare I say it, purity. The process is itself simplified by the commensurate diminution of appetite which effectively narrows the field to something more cerebral though not donnish. The purity derives from the elimination of contaminants generally. The intended operation is thus a metaphysical endeavour; that is, a sensible mixture of earthly and incorporeal. As you may well imagine, the theory is in large part artistic and to that extent a bit foppish.

Competing with this bonfire management is what constitutes an integral feature of any pursuit; namely, the physical strength required. This is significant for me because one of my routine imperatives is bicycling. This undertaking is illustrative of all others. My stamina has weakened; my amusements have declined. If I am to maintain the semblance of worldly participation and involvement I am obliged to endure what for me is a palpable struggle on the two-wheeler. My erstwhile physician meanwhile urges me to adopt far more energetic pursuits. Yet inertia and acknowledged stubbornness prohibit me from such remote dominion. As part of my re-engineering I am now devoted not only to things I like but also to things that don’t hurt. And while carrot cake and pecan butter tarts may be off the table, I have preserved those ambitions which while inedible are nonetheless restorative.

It is thus that I have succeeded to argue myself towards a mandate of moderate activity which, though it may be precisely what I enjoy doing, is by that virtue alone the achievement of my goal. The record of my decline is amusingly correlative to successive distillations. What will in the end remain is mere vapour. But until that moment I can honestly say the chimney expels a wisp of smoke.