As I lackadaisically drove eastwardly late this afternoon, windows and landau roof open, with the blazing sun at my back along the rise and fall of the clear highway, there was an advancing mountain of dark grey cloud in the distance. Within minutes a deluge of rain fell. The cloudburst was so torrential that cars stopped alongside the road, emergency flashers on. Then the rain passed. It stopped as precipitously as it had begun. The ambient temperature fell from 32°C to 23°C.
Naturally the heat warning and rainfall had been forecasted. We’re set for a moderate decline of both over the next several days but predominantly the outlook is steamy. As I relished the marvel of the local weather and complimented myself upon the overall beneficence of life on a lazy summer day in August, I reflected upon those who ambitiously devote themselves to travel about the world. Though as so-called “snowbirds” we manifestly warrant the description of traveler, it triggers a much different character than that of wayfarer. I don’t consider myself a “homebody” but neither do I deserve to be called adventurous. I am certainly not a drifter or derelict; but the migrant spirit is admittedly confined to a narrow scope.
It is not often – though it has happened – that I relate with any degree of trepidation the nature of society in places I have visited. For some whom I know (including Americans) residency in the United States of America is cause for apprehension. Unquestionably since my retirement in 2014 and our resulting passages to winter in the United States of America, we have greatly heightened our absorption of American politics. Whether the political landscape is trustworthy as an assessment of American society is questionable. It may constitute nothing more acute than the distilled vapour of those seeking paramountcy in either commerce or governance. Such mercenary ambition is something I have learned is peculiar to a select few; and the acquainted spoils are equally limited.
I have also learned that even in politics (at least on the national level of Congress) very often the more critical details of society subsist only at the local level. As with any communion the characteristics which survive abstraction – that is, the view from a distance – are invariably more abrupt and categorical than disclosed by the intense detail at the forefront of popular activity. I would not say it is by design that we have avoided the apparent controversy between Republicans and Democrats. Our ventures along the customary travel corridor from Ontario to Florida have unwittingly confined us to what I can only describe as highly acceptable encounters. When on occasion I am asked about the people whom we meet beyond the Canadian border in the United States of America I can only respond that they are largely like the rest of us; that is, each of them has their peculiarities, they value family and the moment. Seldom if ever do we descend into unrestrained political conversation. Partly it is a social restriction to avoid confronting a US national about matters which are technically outside one’s scope of involvement. The discourteous conduct may in fact promote altercation.
As gushy as it may resound I prefer to imagine that others of any description are invested with the same features we all share. In my experience it is those with their nose in the air who preserve meaningless distinction and distraction. Never have I known it to be worthy to stand on others to make oneself taller. Indeed it is my further enlargement to invite the singularity of others within my current domain. Everyone has a story.