Tuesday, January 30, 2018


The weather forecast today on Daytona Beach Shores: Sunny conditions with 34 km/hr winds out of the north. When I went bicycling with the wind at my back I "sailed" down the beach. Conveniently the low tide was at 12:56 pm just as I entered the beach approach at Breakers Avenue.  Tacking back and forth with unprecedented ease I flaunted my unseen propulsion (albeit to a limited audience) along the broad face of the lonely beach, windswept by chimera and whisps of fine sand. But I knew that upon my return I would pay the penalty of frictionless passage.  So rather than stretch my outbound resources by going to Ponce Inlet at the southern end of the barrier island I detoured onto the sidewalk at Wilbur-by-the-Sea and doubled back. I hoped that by sheltering in the lee of the shrubbery, homes and condominiums on S Atlantic Avenue I might escape the consequence of the wind. It was a moderately effective accommodation though the wind howled mercilessly whenever an opening to the sea occasioned.

The brilliance of the sun (all 10 hrs and 48 mins of it today) was too precious to squander. Accordingly upon my headwind return home I went poolside and collapsed onto a chaise longue facing directly into the fiery ball. Only at intervals when muted by a flying cloud was the palpable heat of the sun diminished.  Otherwise it was a reminder of the searing warmth that is to follow as we move into the month of February and out of the so-called "winter" of northeast Florida.  My face tingled from the sun and the abrasion of the wind.  The Ocean churned and roared.

How I treasure the defining features of my life!  As I lay in the sun nestled in my pullover and yellow and blue shell, buffeted by the wind, eyes closed, I imagined sailing on the open frothing sea.  In truth it is as close as I'll likely ever get to doing that.  Sure, I've sailed on the Baltic Sea under the tutelage of a seasoned Swedish sailor but the memory of it is sufficient to dissuade me from doing so again.  It's a focused occupation and one requiring dexterity and athleticism, things I've clearly never had or have certainly now forever abandoned. But it doesn't stop me from retreating to these imaginary visions, the much purified and edited rendition of the real thing.

We are now under full sail and embrace the possibilities of open water! I won't say we compete with the inveterate vagabonds who tour the South Pacific and undertake African safari but we've nicely settled into a gypsy mode that appeases our wanderlust. The absorption is taking us places we fancy. Meanwhile we've tailored our lifestyle to fit our nomadic vernacular. Everything is portable - including for example my piano - an electronic keyboard (though I hadn't needed to cart it about this year because this place has a well-tuned Yamaha grand piano in the club room). The discovery of Bealls (where according to my expedition guide "they pay you to buy") has demonstrably smoothed the sartorial waters by providing what amounts to disposable clothing.  A small point perhaps in the estimation of most but nonetheless compelling to those of us - and there are many be assured - who value the novelty of fresh comfortable apparel.  Just another of those defining features.

When as now the gates of passage are opened upon what is undeniably fortutious circumstances, when one's health though not anywhere near perfect is tolerable and predominantly functional, when disappointment does not tarnish the glow of the late afternoon sunshine, when anticipation is a commodity and fulfillment can be tasted, then it's time before too late to embrace what is at hand (or in mind for that matter).  Lubricated by the necessity of dwindling opportunity we cheerfully forgo anything which contradicts elemental passion. Like a racing sail boat we harness the wind that is in our favour.  The quarters of a sail boat are famously tight; there is no room for surplusage. The advantage however is that it makes one's choices all the more critical - only the signal stuff matters.  In the result there is less to contemplate. The encumbrance of the material world is correspondingly lightened while what remains is commensurately distinguished. The brilliance of the moment like the sun suddenly appearing from behind the clouds fills the void in a flash, dazzling.

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