The winter solstice unremittingly approaches. The alteration affects even this sub-tropical barrier island at 28° latitude. The late afternoon sky today was blurred by a chalky grey. No fluffy white cumulonimbus clouds against an azure backdrop. The green palm trees and sea grape bushes were oddly more manifest, as though filtered. The nautical blue stripe of the spa contrasted brilliantly with its emerald green water and circular white concrete rim. In the distance the Gulf of Mexico was a mournful plate.
I still swam. And I still bicycled. Things are famously slow here at this time of year - before Christmas and until after the New Year when the season begins. At Bayfront Park a fit middle-aged man batted tennis balls alone on a court. Another lone man walked along the sidewalk at the edge of Sarasota Bay, stopped and mused intently upon the distant views of three tiny wooded islands. A woman dressed preposterously in black strolled with her little dog. I sat on the park bench and reviewed my list of Contacts on my iPhone, a pointless exercise which becomes instantly muddled by reflections.
Without any grandchildren it appears I have nothing to divert either my time or my money. The chains of humanity have become thinner and thinner.
"Also when they shall be afraid of the which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his song home, and the mourners go about the streets."
Yet I rejoice in this villa by the sea. There is a breezy gentility. By degrees the platitudes of life have diminished; there is no need for presence or communication. Long past is the value of historical assessment. So many people here are on the same trek into another world, like herds of animals instinctively traveling across vast spaces to a natural end, determined and unalterable. As disappointing as that may sound it is no different from what drove the same creatures decades before, the accomplishment of divers projects, the achievement of other ambitions and necessities.
For now I am content with the December sun.