I awakened late this morning after an unusually restful sleep. The lethargy didn’t however stop me getting on my bike before noon. Nor had the middling urgency prevented me from having a fulfilling breakfast. I finally spread Marmite yeast extract on my Epic Everything bagel. I’m not saying it out-did the Teddie All Natural Smooth Unsalted peanut butter but it at least fulfilled an ambition.

Though the sun was bright, the cool weather succeeded to incarcerate most everyone in their burrows. I joined the few outdoor enthusiasts by adorning myself with a light long-sleeved pullover, a bright baby-blue synthetic construction I had purchased at Tide Tables at Marker 48 on a similarly gusty day. It was satisfying as always to propel myself in the open air, relishing the sunshine and acquitting myself of the contrition of a prolonged though much needed slumber. I confess the performance amounts to a statutory daily constitutional without which I have no ensuing resolve.

At Bayfront Park I met Bosun (a robust male Labrador dog) and his equally vital mistress, a retired attorney from Maine. Bosun showed himself superior in competition with his mistress when a tiny but yappy black dog approached on a lead from the inner confines of the Park. Though Bosun was also on a lead it was a mere cosmetic in the hand of his mistress who while being yanked along could only utter stern but entirely futile instruction. Meanwhile the other handler – also a woman but considerably younger – had only hope that Bosun would amount to no more than the big lug he was. Except for the insufficiency of the attorney to handle her sturdy dog I found myself privately remarking that the banner Lesbian stamp had insinuated her being much the way male hair stylists and nurses are mistakenly anointed with sexual innuendo for transgressing an occupation historically associated with the opposite gender. I suspect at her age it was an achievement to have entered the profession when the demographics were different.

Boosted by this happenstance encounter I continued my bicycle ride by what had now become a metaphorical diversion. I dared to investigate several of the residential enclaves along the pathway. Normally I haven’t an interest in scoping these predominantly private areas because my primary goal is the accomplishment of distance on an uninterrupted channel. But today with the dearth of people and the coolness of the air (which quelled the usual glamour of the pool or sea) I fed my native curiosity.

Happily the allure though beguiling did not overcome the commitment we’ve made to winter in Key Largo next year. It was a profitable introduction to places I might otherwise to my disadvantage have overlooked. We may consider a return jaunt. Like so many other places I’ve unwittingly discovered over the years the extent of development and the attraction are quite inestimable from the roadway.

To round out the unanticipated zest of the day I ended communing by the pool with another elderly lawyer and his wife (a former grade school teacher). We addressed in particular the curious prejudice which so often characterizes even those who historically are similarly the object of preconceived notions. I won’t illustrate a naïveté by suggesting there is anything unusual in this; but it nonetheless affords some nourishment for social improvement. By a process I cannot now recall we enlarged this social topic to a commercial one by concluding that the Chinese are replacing the Jews as the mercantile class in both the Caribbean and Africa. We further agreed that the Chinese have done so surreptitiously as the Jews notoriously did in Britain. Though the tack smacks of calculation and design I prefer to distinguish it merely as exemplary of the adage, “If you’ve got it, you don’t talk about it!” a social dignity by which I have never personally been enhanced.

As we approach the month of February it is virtually guaranteed that temperatures will climb regularly to 85 – 90 degrees. The forecast for the next week is not much above 75 degrees but I know this will soon change. A glance at my electronic calendar discloses little ambition in the upcoming months other than the celebration of what we have done every day since we arrived last October, admittedly no small compliment. Occasionally we contemplate our return to Almonte but only as a reminder that it is much adored and appreciated. Often I reflect upon the many charming and agreeable customs we have similarly cultivated there. Though only as recently as today I told the Maine attorney that we straddle the two borders each for 6-months of the year, Almonte is still home and it always will be. Yesterday the woman (another from Maine) whom I met at the nail salon told me that she regretted that she and her husband (also an attorney) had taken up Florida residency as she persisted in thinking herself a resident of Maine. There was an unmistakeable melancholia in her voice when she said so.

Photo by Nadine Sculland