Saturday, May 18, 2019

Holiday Weekend

A resident of the condo building emailed me mid-day to say was a robin's nest in the corner of our balcony. Only hours before I had been relaxing in the drawing room and noticed the sudden commotion of a bird flying over the railing. We never use the balcony.  If we want to be outside we go bicycling. I am reticent to disturb Nature but I took a photo of the nest.  What an engineering feat it is!

When I took the snap I didn't see either parent but I suspect one or both of them saw me.  There is a collection of fallen thatch on the floor beneath the nest. Hopefully we'll have the vernal pleasure of anxious chirps in due course!

Around 3:00 am today I lay awake in bed mulling over things. For the next hour I thrashed about, resisting the urge to get up. Finally I threw back the covers and began my day. I first showered then commenced the breakfast routine - which is now black coffee, green apple and banana slices and whole wheat Naan bread.  I added four dried figs. While pouring over this assortment I opened my computer, checked email and attended to the correction and amendment of some of what I had recently written. By nine o'clock we were on our bicycles, wheeling into the eastern blue sky and white clouds. I puffed as always up the modest inclines from across the bridge and onto Paterson Street from Spring Street along the Mississippi River.

This predictable routine is mandatory. It relieves any lethargy which might otherwise plague me. It also fascinates me that the first sixty-five years of my life were spent quite differently, at least not including a year-round daily bicycle jaunt.  When I began my career I cycled upwards of a hundred miles per week but mostly only on the weekends - usually rain or shine. In my working days exercise was considered largely an interruption, at best a necessity.  I certainly relished my Sunday morning cycles on the Parkway in Ottawa along the Ottawa River but the event never acquired the habit of toothbrushing which it now has. It was then an excess, deliberately managed to promote speed and distance - features which have disappeared from the agenda.

I have just finished playing the piano.  Same old songs, same old gusto. I think my piano playing is more of a workout than bicycling!  It exhausts me to roll up and down the keyboard, arms flying about me! I am certain my energy for that performance arose from having eaten an early dinner and having indulged myself in a nap on the couch afterwards - something my father used to do (though he often lay on the drawing room floor with a small pillow beneath his head). Come to think of it, he and I have a lot in common - like moving about in the middle of the night, becoming sentimental over Nature, sedans and being an unabashed curmudgeon.

I frequently think about my late parents. I'm always trying to come to some conclusion about them and our relationship.  Not that it matters a pinch at this juncture. They were good people who continue to attract my affection. Luckily for them and me they lived long lives and were terminally ill when they died.  It would be perverted to have wished them to linger in their latter state and condition. But I still find myself imagining the pleasure of visiting them at their house. They always betrayed a pleasure to see me. I am happy to have had the opportunity to do that so regularly, living fairly close by, not having anything else to compete with the filial duty and family privilege.

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