Saturday, July 13, 2019

Été canadien

"Nature teaches us how to die." That at least is the gist of an adage I recall from the ritual of speculative Freemasonry - a witticism more lasting even than the universal fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. Its modern application for me is as seemingly trite as down-sizing and purging - basically the inevitable elimination of almost any order, though no less artless and wholesome. The purity of the logic is compelling as well - that is, narrowing one's focus only upon what is important. There is a risk of severing ties with erstwhile contacts, obligations, pleasures, things and romances but the overwhelming appetite (or diminution of it) for what remains is inescapable, both as a motive and as a resource.  How pleasant it is at last to confine one's interests and expressions to what appeals to and answers a sense of purpose!

There isn't a sudden and striking insight (other than the inarguable sense of freedom). The simplicity is organic and reasonable, rather like removing uncomfortable clothing on a hot day. Speaking of which, my current distraction is summer in Canada, most of which we've absorbed on home territory but part of which we propose to experience by traveling to the Atlantic Ocean (which alone instantly heightens my imagination and excites my dreams).

It cheers me to recollect my long-standing acquaintance with the Maritimes through my late father in New Brunswick and also through my own ephemeral habituation in Nova Scotia while studying law at Dalhousie University. It carries with it a strangely spiritual sensitivity associated with the return from afar to one's beginnings. I have voyaged abroad enough in my lifetime to accept that "there ain't no ship to take you away from yourself, that you travel the suburbs of your own mind" but I am alive to the energy which is sometimes visited upon the past.

The necessity to restrict our travel to Canada - having already exhausted our non-residency for 180 days - further disentangles our exploration, part of that descent into the reputed mediocrity of exclusion. It is however a welcome qualification, more of that strengthening simplification. The narrowness of my scope was exemplified today as I drove along the winding ribbon of highway from our small town into the city.

In the distance I saw the bulging summer clouds. The smooth highway tranquillized the vehicle. The undersides of the leaves in the wind and the swaying crops in the cornfields echoed the hot temperature and tumult of summer. I still glowed slightly from my earlier bicycle ride on the old railway line. The distillation of my strength was complete.

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