Winter outing

The glassy, frozen sky early this morning ensured that what remained of the ploughed snow on the blacktop was slick ice. Our cycling threatened to become a chance encounter with misfortune.  Nonetheless by adhering to the dry portions of the road – some of which patches were only on the left side – we escaped injury while at the same time engulfing the crystal fresh air and capturing rays of warmth from the brilliant sunshine. By the time we rounded the corner on Church Street and headed to the library it was evident that our erstwhile railway right-of-way was covered in snow. We turned back.

In addition to now heating ourselves we have effectively resigned from outdoor cycling for the season. Possibly there will be days when the temperature rises and invites rejuvenation. But the salt residue may linger. We’re not about to take chances. Time to hibernate instead.


Last night before collapsing into bed I had the oddest epiphany. After a lifetime of concerning myself with work and presentation (a respectful way of saying something psychotic like capitalism and advertising) I have not – as one might expect – “seen the light” but rather I’ve glimpsed something which more accurately exposes the motion in the shadows. As blunt and unruffled as I may at times seem the performance is unquestionably a product of two things. One, keep the language pertinent and civil. Two, invite the diversion of others, not oneself. Both are directed outwards; each is a smokescreen.  Although the recipe customarily promotes sociability it goes nowhere near in-depth analysis. The repercussion is an absence of insight into one’s own character.  Herein lies the sudden realization; namely, what we are to others is often wildly removed from what we are to ourselves.

I know this sounds a common observation. And no doubt it is.  But for me – in keeping with my unrepentant singularity (or should I say stubbornness) – I have overlooked my stage recognition.  Indeed it gives new meaning to that adage about the world and the stage – that is, we’re both the world and the stage. That is, out of one (the stage) the world unfolds. And within the one the other folds. Never shall we see ourselves as others do; but for the time being it makes sense to understand their perspective – and to accept the obligations that usually attend that view.

Therein lies the wisdom of the awakening. Accepting not only the platitude that “we’re all different” but the more important realization that there are expectations which flow from our repeated staging. That is, if indeed we’re all different, then it is expected we shall behave differently depending normally upon our past experiences and upbringing; and some elements of heredity. This posture, while not necessarily feeding one’s native preferences, fulfills the reality of companionship and affection. It’s far more instructive than the precept, “Nobody’s listening and nobody cares!” Others cannot help but see what is before them.

“All the world’s a stage”

from As You Like It, spoken by Jaques


                                        All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion;
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.