Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Catching Up!

It was about ten days ago that we returned home to our beloved Almonte from our winter hibernation on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Since then we've been flying high. As usual, when things get going as fast as they have been lately, I start to feel out of touch and I become overwhelmed by the need to recapitulate in order to catch up emotionally! Sometimes the pace is so intense that I lose touch where I am. Trotting out the agenda of the past week or so would hardly capture the turbulence engendered by those frenetic events. It has been a marked distinction from our lazy regular day on Hilton Head Island; viz., breakfast, bicycling on the beach and settling in for the evening. Yet the notable element of being home is the strength and variation of the competing emotions. Dormant sensitivities and passions have been revived by reacquaintance with family and friends and having to deal with the sometimes highly personal intelligence shared by people whom we know.  How much easier it is to remain detached and unperturbed when listening to the babbling of a stranger!  But friends and family command a  measure of attention and responsiveness.

I like to think that I have willingly addressed those personal demands. Some of them are as practical as filing documents with the accountant to complete the annual tax returns; others entail broaching  serious health concerns; still others reignite lingering family issues.  In short it has been quite impossible to insulate oneself from a wealth of information!

This evening, on the occasion of an interlude in our domestic readjustment, I pointedly succumbed to sweetened condensed milk. It was that or Nutella! Unmitigated sugar! Straight out of the can! My passion for vulgar sweets is incontrovertible, always has been. Naturally we normally make a reasonable effort to avoid such obvious contamination but my resources have lately been drawn upon so liberally that there was a commensurate diminution of my better judgement and hence no resistance to the spoliation.  It was, I am convinced, a necessary evil; it had to be done. Earlier in the day while collecting some groceries I had contemplated other Ferrero confection.  Shortly thereafter in another mall I was captivated by an emporium selling exotic Belgian chocolates. Fate saw to it that retreat was foreclosed! Sweets are the last frontier for me, a reminder of my addictions (and my willingness to admit defeat).

The antecedent to this indulgence was a struggling restatement of current affairs.  It was a struggle because I was so caught up in the details of the last ten days that I had trouble extricating myself from the fray sufficiently to adopt the requisite abstract view. At last I achieved some resolution by breaking the analysis into its constituent parts:  first the visceral elements (lodging, food, clothing,  and transportation) and then the cerebral features (family, friendship, productivity and generally the powers of reasoning). For the time being I am able to put my thumb in the hole of the dyke. I have no doubt that the waters are held back only temporarily, that it is assured that I shall suffer some assault of some description eventually.  But even though I know from ample experience that the chaos of life is inescapable it nonetheless helps to smooth the waves.

When I glance at my electronic calendar (in an effort to gain an insight into where I have been and what I have done) I quickly recognize that the past is of no assistance to quell my inner anxiety.  Neither I suppose does it matter what is to come. The adage about living for the present surfaces once again. Stopping the world to get off is impossible. No doubt my afternoon nap afforded some much needed rest.  I suspect too that the yearning for sugar was a corollary of fatigue. By degrees the confusion of the moment - being, as the French are wont to say, "désaxé" (unbalanced) - subsided.  Gratefully the fuss of the immediate past is replaced by stability and assuredness, no longer distressed by the turmoil of endless challenges requiring sometimes snappy resolution. I tranquillize myself amid this private combustion by laundering my clothes, polishing my jewellery and driving my car. And writing.  Writing is unquestionably the ultimate catharsis (though it must first be nurtured by the other pacifications).

When all is well, when the storms within my head are quelled, I deliberately cast my gaze at all that I have, consider all that I have done, conduct an inventory of my family and friends, all with the intention of satisfying myself that the world once again is sane and that I am positioned to take the next step whatever it may be. Relishing these moments of pleasure is a rare event and not to be discounted.  It requires the synthesis of disparate elements, the force or manufacture of which is unthinkable.

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