Thursday, November 15, 2018

Cloudy Day

I asked him if he ever wished to write his thoughts. He said that he had read and written letters for those who could not, but he never tried to write thoughts—no, he could not, he could not tell what to put first, it would kill him, and then there was spelling to be attended to at the same time!"

Excerpt From: Henry David Thoreau. “Walden"

Some things are just not worth the bother. Criticism for example is a topic of frequent admonishment, not just a reprimand but a warning.  The warning is that not only might you be seriously mistaken; but also might you suffer the indignity of the reminder.  When it comes to the assessment of others it is a fine line between condemnation and recognition. Some creatures are inherently dangerous.  Recognizing that possibility is not necessarily a castigation; rather it may be merely a question of knowledge and understanding. To make however the inductive leap that the sting of a bee is to be embraced is quite another proposition - and one which may have unfortunate and unwanted results.

How readily we confess the simplicity of life!  Yet we continue to confound ourselves with the complications of interpretations and ramifications and permutations, seemingly designed only to elevate our cheapjack summary to a more mystical though uncertain level and conclusion. At a point in one's life the attraction of such earnest reflection significantly diminishes. It is unforgivably wearing if nothing else, not to mention round about and tiresome. Wherein lies the merit or the value?  Surely one mustn't forever confine oneself to laborious and perpetually alternative thinking!  When, as the saying goes, is a cigar just a good smoke!

Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)

The Betrothed “You must choose between me and your cigar.”
Breach of Promise Case, circa, 1885

OPEN the old cigar-box, get me a Cuba stout,
For things are running crossways, and Maggie and I are out.

We quarrelled about Havanas—we fought o’er a good cheroot,
And I know she is exacting, and she says I am a brute.

Light me another Cuba; I hold to my first-sworn vows,
If Maggie will have no rival, I'll have no Maggie for spouse!

The more patent allure is to sing like the birds upon the start of the day. I do not examine the ingredients of my discernible breakfast to know that a sliced green apple, walnuts and cheese sate. Likewise what keeps me from my shallow admissions of pleasure is nothing less than the threat of where to start.

I prefer to start with a bicycle ride - as I did once again this morning (on this day or Doomsday) notwithstanding the grey skies and northerly wind.  Tomorrow the temperature may plummet to 68℉ (though sunny).  Meanwhile the cool air gambolled with the warm atmosphere and a mist descended, a tolerable rain only sufficient to blur my spectacles but not my spirit. In the event of a downpour I directed myself homeward and insisted upon a further sortie on Longboat Club Road within the neighbourhood.

If ever there were a testament to superfluity it is here! The Castle in the Air would perhaps be tolerable if it were occupied.  But apparently it is not - except by the landscapers and the window washers. My trifling sybaritism is by comparison absolute moderation! And who I ask is the wiser of us two? Must I oblige myself the height of gratification to endure the peril of descent! Must I be mistaken! And by whose standard am I adjudged? More to the point, what matters the preacher if the monopoly is not his own!

I know full well the limits of my intemperance. I need neither bricks nor mortar to provoke a wantonness, an excess I would sadly traffic under any circumstances were I not in my current state of mind. What piffling price to pay for the extravagance of living! And yet I know in my heart I am just as completely satisfied with the juicy fat of a ground-beef hamburger - not even the addition of pepper or salt, a mere distraction from the purity of flavour that otherwise abounds!

After my regard of the neighbours I settled in a chair by the sea and pondered the ebb and doleful horizon. In the distance was what appeared to be a sailing ship, a large mast above a white barque, maneuvering itself more and more remotely across the never-ending edge of the world. The sea is vast; its depths are unimaginable; the beach displays only its clarified manifestations, flat, uniform and cleansed.

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