Things that distract me

Considering the panoply of distractions at hand at almost any moment of the day, and acknowledging the coincidental acquaintance of the word with a set of arms or suit of armour or even the less formidable association with trappings, regalia and apparatus, I am moved to comment upon the strength of two features of my own life; namely, my lineage and my preferences.  I suspect there is nothing but the most remote connection between them – and it is certainly not for that reason that I mention them – but I am prompted to my past and my present circumstances by the innate vital stimulation which these two singular resources afford me whatever I may conjecture about their bond and howsoever I might wish to characterize their hallmarks. It is, to speak candidly and again without intending to elicit any creative appeal, not unlike staring at a work of art and capturing what it is about it that appeals to one.

late 16th century (in the sense complete protection for spiritual warfare, often with biblical allusion to Eph. 6:11, 13): from French panoplie or modern Latin panoplia full armor, from Greek, from pan all + hopla arms.

Quite apart from the etymology or purely linquistic history of the word panoply it is undeniable that many of us are quick to liken certain demonstrations or corroborations to ourselves, whether intentionally for example for dramatic or sartorial purposes or maybe even for deceitful scheme. The historical embrace may include the adaptation of heraldry, biblical or religious allusion all of which is designed to express a sensitivity, achievement or design.

A coat of arms is a heraldic visual design on an escutcheon (i.e., shield), surcoat, or tabard (the latter two being outer garments). The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement, which in its whole consists of a shield, supporters, a crest, and a motto. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to the armiger (e.g. an individual person, family, state, organization, school or corporation). The term “coat of arms” itself, describing in modern times just the heraldic design, originates from the description of the entire medieval chainmail “surcoat” garment used in combat or preparation for the latter.

What has lately amused me to discover is that many of my current preferences are far more aligned to a depth of expression than I had reckoned. Some – for example what I believe to be my Native American Indian heritage (about which by the way I have no other proof than the readiness with which I tan in the summer; and possibly many years ago my inexplicable adoration of a sculpture by Don Begg of Indian chief Irhe Wapta) – instantly spark a mooring with the past.

This lineal alliance is less doubtful and more provable when attached to England as far back as William CHAPMAN, c. 12 Oct 1729, Hawnby, Ryedale, North Yorkshire, England d. Bef 1805 …. (Age ~ 75 years). I have never settled upon what may have been the more dignified liniment or lineage. Nor does it matter to me.  I am grateful to share the possibility of either or both. Heritage like currency – though alway remarkable – is likewise unmistakable. As I like to quip, ‘What’s bred in the bone will out in the flesh!”

Less intelligently though no less pungently is the recognizable alignment with colour and exhibition. This, I hesitate to account, references everything from dinner ware to automobiles to clothing.  As wild an allusion as it may at first appear, recall if you will that it is no accident that we are drawn to one look, colour or design.  It is as complicated as the millefiori or as rudimentary as the mini Cooper.

I cannot leave this patently materialistic obsession without acknowledging the Town of Almonte to which I am eternally indebted. My partner and I have together imperceptibly insinuated this complicated, historic and proud avenue of Canadian culture which was fortuitously at our doorstep. There was a time, when studying law at Dalhousie Unversity in Halifax, NS that I yearned to extend my maritime roots instilled by my father but oped instead to return to Upper Canada to fulfill my dreams.

The New Brunswick ancestry is one which my partner and I have visited together.  And, closer to home, we have contemplated living along the St. Lawrence Seaway; but once again neither it nor New Brunswick succeeded to envelope us the way the Town of Almonte has done so. I congratulate us upon the success of our decision. Even our erstwhile winter interruptions have not managed to overrule what is now our domestic predominance; and what coincidentally directs a new, unfamiliar and heightened prosperity of furlough engagement and diversity.