Monday, September 25, 2017

Late Summer Reflections

We're languishing below the dome of a transparent cloudless sky.  There is an oppressive dry heat under a white desert-like sun. If the forecast can be relied upon, two days remain before the thermometer returns to seasonable levels.  For the time being socks, sweaters and shells are on hold. It is time for late summer reflections reminiscent of dies caniculares.

The dog days or dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer. They were historically the period following the heliacal rising of the star Sirius, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heatdrought, sudden thunderstormslethargyfevermad dogs, and bad luck. They are now taken to be the hottest, most uncomfortable part of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

Though I try to remember to wear my Garmin v√≠voactive® "GPS smartwatch with built-in sports apps" whenever I go bicycling I sometimes forget to do so. Or - as today - I avoided wearing it because it was irritating my skin. I am senstive to even the smallest particle of base metal or whatever toxic element thrives in the commercial rubber substitutes. In any event I needn't have it to record my self-styled athletic endeavours. I bicycle almost every day, all year round. That of course would be 365 days per year.  Even if I take a break every second day (which I do not do) it would still be 182.5 days per year.  If in the interest of casual speculation I cut the difference in half, then I cycle about 273.5 days per year.  In Canada our regular route is 6.9 miles which I am quite certain is less than we do at sea level in the winter when the effort to cycle is noticeably less.  But even assuming we only do 7 miles per day for 274 days per year, that's still almost 2,000 miles per year.  Whatever the significance of may be!

The routine trek here at home along Country Street to Rae Road then along the 8th Line of Ramsay and down the Old Perth Road is naturally starting to become hackneyed.  Certainly the Arcadian images remain but I have begun to see the surface reality the way a close-up of one's own face reveals undisguised abuses. Habit can be both a comfort and a bore. We have of course taken alternate courses. But the preferred route lingers like any daily walk. We've literally identified the bumps in the road.

This afternoon after the welcome purification of having my teeth cleaned, I sailed in my sleek black sedan along the highway from Carleton Place to Stittsville. In the middle of the day it is one of the few highways which is remarkably serene.  It flows like an undulating ribbon, up and down, rising to meet what I imagine to be an ocean in the distance.  The adjoining fields are vast, boundless to the horizon.  I am accompanied musically by John Grant and Nino Rota whose reappearance is as repetitive as any other of my ritual performances.

As we approach the day of our departure for hibernation the stream of activity narrows with the effect of the Bernoulli Principle. We've streamlined our preparations over the years to eliminate redundancies; basically, less is more. Contemporaneously I have exhausted any interest in new acquisitions. It has to be one of the perks of age that there is decreasing appetite and need. Balancing that is the heightened attention to matters medical, all of which succeeds to cultivate the two essentials of conversation - one's health and the weather.

I have lately stumbled upon a new recipe, sliced mini-cucumber, chopped leafy parsley, halved cherry tomatoes, strips of green pepper, white wine vinegar, a splash of olive oil and a sprinkle of Maldon salt.  It is a perfect accompaniment to protein (fish or beef) and sufficiently tasty to raise it above the ascetic of raw veggies.

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