Thursday, March 21, 2019

The North Wind

Not unexpectedly my introduction today to the noticeable north wind emerged when fulfilling my morning bicycle ride on Longboat Club Road. As smart as it was, the wind was bone dry yet strangely silken.  It heralded what proved to be a robust, clear day below a crystal deep-blue sky.

The vigorous atmosphere had insinuated my being from the moment I awoke this morning. Shortly after seven o'clock I sprang from bed and commenced a weekly laundry routine. Spirited by that particular gusto I raced through the preparation of breakfast of sliced Sumo Citrus oranges, steel cut oats and black coffee while reading the latest digital edition of Country Life magazine and merrily expanding my doddering mind accordingly.  Somewhere in the flurry of activity I was even prompted to stretch the sinews of my hamstrings and thus significantly deputize my knotty neuropathy.

When at last I got onto my bike and headed as is my custom to Bayfront Park the high pressured air was working its anticyclonic magic. There was an unmistakable buoyancy.  I had further profited from this morning's zing by having called the Chelsea Clock Company in Massachusetts to enquire about a nagging difference between several of their models. I have inherited my paternal grandfather's addiction to clocks and watches.  The item which currently entrances me is the so-called Harbour Master, a non-striking timepiece unlike the distinctive Ship's Bell for which the manufacturer is famous.

Lately I have thankfully been guided by the adage told me years ago; to wit, "Any damn fool can make money but it takes a smart man to keep it". Clinging to this wisdom has not been without its trials though its outcome relieving. Nor has it helped especially to recall that most people whom I know with money are more often celebrated for their economy than extravagance. There remains however that competing argument about life being short and all that that entails! Nonetheless I have succeeded to derive as much pleasure from window shopping as consigning myself to the expense. The other corollary - which I hesitate to dwell upon - is that with age comes a diminished interest in matters material. Granted it is not yet a hopeless demise but the evaporation is palpable.

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them.

I still occasionally revisit everything - from cars to millefiori, Oriental rugs, crystal vases and decanters, oil paintings, mahogany furnishings, jewelry, tech toys and key chains - but my absorption diminishes incrementally. Not only do the credentials of things wane. The mere thought of having to maintain them tires me.

Thus enthused with the purity of nature and its present and gratuitous accessibility, I headed to the beach. It surprised me to discover that there was not another soul beneath the umbrellas or on the chaises longues. Apparently the residents belong to that breed of pusillanimous Floridians for whom the slightest degree below 80℉ is considered positively frigid. For my part it was heavenly. Certainly the high wind continued to flap the edges of my towel and buffet it against the back of my chair but the air was as thick and soft as condensed milk.

After basking for a while I walked along the beach to the pier about a mile northward. The view there is spectacular in my opinion. The beach broadens; the emerald green sea is signally remarkable; and the waves seem vast in expanse and purpose (having today eroded a cliff of sand along the shore). There was nobody on the pier so I walked to the end and stared cautiously over the edge into the sea.  The water was perfectly clear. The white, sandy bottom was only about five feet in depth. On my return walk I strode into the sea  and swam not far from my chaise longue, transported there by the wind and the waves. The water was soothingly warm. When I afterwards regained my chair, I delighted in the hedonism of the drying wind and burnishing sunshine.

It was on my way back to the apartment at about 4:00 pm that I rallied around the pool with my new acquaintance, Carol Lee, and her longtime friend, Carol. Carol Lee's daughter, Leah, was with them. She is visiting from Georgia.  Leah is a handsome young lady, decidedly competent and recognizably intelligent. She is an undisputed credit to her family in particular and to youth in general. We jokingly - but in earnest - discussed the delicacy of lapses into the vernacular (or what Carol comically alluded to as "potty talk"). To my gratification, Leah agreed that sapid language of that sort should be employed sparingly and certainly not in a business context.

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