Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wending Along

I am not complaining that we are pushing the end of January. January is a hard month, getting back into the thick of things after a holiday, having to do all those tedious year-end chores, not to mention having to cope with the unfolding winter weather. Besides I always enjoy the closing of one event and the commencement of another. I need every available platform from which to launch a fresh start. Unless one is Catholic, there is a need to secure new venues for purging. The calendar is as good as anything for that.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Now I get it!

Although it may sound flippant to say it, “Que sera, sera!” This seemingly bland and axiomatic idiom is to my mind of far more substance than the silly song of which it is famously a part. First it is a transgression of interpretation to suggest it simply means “...whatever will be will be...”, a reading which becomes even more contaminated by adding “...the future is not ours to see...”. More to the point, it should be strictly interpreted as “...what will be will be...”, the difference being the absence of whimsy and the presence of prediction. I contend that by understanding our own machinery - the matters which appeal to us, the things which we enjoy doing, the tasks which fulfill us - we effectively nurture what talent is already inherent, much the way the oak springs from the acorn. Why we should assume that human nature is any different from any other natural occurrence I shall never know. Everything about us, whether determined by nurture or by nature, inescapably calculates to manufacture what we are and what we do. The secret, however, is to appreciate the components we have and then to act upon them.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tight Rope Walk

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
Make no mistake, life is a tight rope walk not a cake walk. The smallest disturbance or lack of attention can have calamitous results. The possibility of drifting through life is pure fiction no matter who you are or what your circumstances.

Having said that, the oddest conundrum is that we are in most respects as free as the birds, at least so long as we behave like the birds. By that I mean we must keep ourselves in tune with our environment and our needs. Anything more or less is skirting either negligence or frivolity, not exactly the happiest compounds. By way of further refinement I mean that in our natural state our situation is, with some exceptions for those of us who are really disadvantaged, not that complicated. Where the fun begins is when we choose to perplex an otherwise simple state of circumstances. It is, for example, no accident that many of the most successful people in the world are the most down-to-earth, not common or unsophisticated, just fundamental. In the scheme of things any one of us would be fooling ourselves to imagine that we’ve got it all figured out or that we have the slightest idea of what is on the horizon. The future can change in an instant. While most of us acknowledge the possibility of that distortion, it invariably comes as a complete shock when the possibility is in fact realized. It is only then that we start back-pedaling in an attempt to regain some lost ground which by then may or may not be too late depending on the extent of the damage.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Night Rider

The one advantage of a really cold day in the winter is that the roads are dry. This is an advantage not so much because the driving conditions are better, but rather because one's car will stay clean after it is washed.

There is very little for me that competes with the attraction of getting my car washed and driving it on clear roads. So when I made up my mind after work to prefer an evening ride to an evening cocktail, I immediately began preparing myself for the excursion. The first part of the routine is to get the inside of the car as tolerable as possible, which in the winter means removing the obvious debris from the car mats. There is little point in going the extra mile for the brake and gas pedals as they will only be soiled the minute one steps into the car. Perhaps a quick swipe with the cloth gloves, but nothing more.

Uncharitable Cold

It is small wonder there are few people on the street today. It is so bitterly cold that no one choses to venture abroad. The cold air seeps through every crack in this historic building. Even without the cracks the cold radiates inwardly as though the double brick walls were made of ice.

The grinding temperatures have had the same effect upon business in general. I also fully suspect the miserable weather has precipitated the usual colds and flues of the season, disabling the subalterns of bureaucracy upon whom I rely.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ephemeral Bliss

It isn’t often one can say that everything combines in perfect harmony, lending an air of boomps-a-daisy; but when it does - as it does for me today - the event is worth recording.

The good news starts with the weather, a sticky wicket at best in Canada in the middle of January. Today we are blessed with a dome of faint blue sky - albeit it a frozen one - which shows off to exceeding advantage the vapours of heat billowing from the large stone chimney of the Old Post Office across the street. The vapours, being tossed about by a light wind, are accented even further by the happy coincidence of the dazzling sun being immediately behind them, effectively igniting their appearance. Knowing as I did early this morning as I glanced out the kitchen window while putting on the nose bag that the weather would be fine, I capitalized upon the opportunity by determining to walk to work. It is perhaps an undertaking of small consequence, given the destination is probably no more than a mile and a bit from home, but for one such as I who is very much enamoured of the automobile it is a significant concession (though I admit a positive one). Given the brisk temperatures, I bundled myself in several layers of wool, beginning with a cardigan, then a sweater coat from Prince Edward Island and finally a traditional duffle coat. About my neck were two silk scarves (one à l’ascot, the other a regular long one which I wound about me). My gloves were as well of tawny wool with dark brown leather palm pads. On my head, a multi-coloured wool toque. Shod with my thick and fur-lined leather boots I was like a stuffed snowman, ready for the cold!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What Motivates You?

It’s an innocent enough question: “What motivates you?” Yet it is almost too innocuous to excite any depth of response, the sort of uninspired question a radio interviewer might ask one’s guest in order to keep the conversation moving. Indeed it was that very circumstance which this morning during my breakfast repast captured my attention while listening - as I always do - to CBC Radio. I can’t recall who the host was interviewing nor about what, but I distinctly recall being intrigued by the question.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blue Monday

While I had never before even heard of “Blue Monday - The Unhappiest Day of the Year”, considering what a restless night I had and how thoroughly miserable I felt this morning, it doesn’t at all surprise me that the mathematical formula actually exists. It’s apparently a calculation based upon various factors such as weather, debt, motivation and the failure of New Year’s resolutions, all of which makes perfect sense. Anyway, without expanding tediously upon the conspiring elements (which I think any fool can accept), what’s amusing about the idea is that there appears to be some substance to it, more so today notwithstanding the alleviating sunshine. I am still generally downhearted.