Friday, November 22, 2019

Rogue Adventure

Minutia was not only the substance of both my educational and professional life, it was  - and continues to be - the subsistence of my restoration, refinement and restitution. I live for detail! An odd corollary of this search for the finer points - or what some have mockingly called trivia - is a complete absorption in my immediate surroundings. We translate this "condition" to pragmatic - and dare I say instructive - rarefaction.  When for example we stayed at the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side of New York City we confined our entire furlough to the hotel for breakfast, lunch, dinner and the cabaret. Each event was in a separate and unique venue, one with white linen and silver service; another cast in a pub-style character; the other a nightclub atmosphere. We may have dwindled briefly on Madison Avenue to purchase a millefiori but for the most part it was entirely agreeable to remain within the Hotel which significantly opened in 1930 and was the popular platform of pianist Bobby Short and singer Elaine Stritch.

I spent a good deal of my time today attempting to resolve the etymological difference between the words obtuse and abstruse. I've decided that one (obtuse) is about beating up against things (tundere" implying stupid whether deliberate or arising from ignorance); the other (abstruse) concerns hiding something (assimilated form of ab "off, away from" + trudere "to thrust").

So the line that would conceivably separate obtuse as modifying willfully ignorant people and abstruse for the language that one might use is blurred somewhat. It’s possible, after all, for remarks that are both insensitive and phrased in esoteric language to be both obtuse and abstruse.

Merriam-Webster (1828)

On a less knotty level consider the exchange I had lately with a chap from Boston who is visiting here for the first time.  When he enquired whether I were familiar with a destination (whether a restaurant or merchant outlet I cannot recall) located in nearby Sarasota, I unhesitatingly asserted that we restrict our perambulations to the Island. Again the promotion is primarily the immediacy of our scope but naturally it carries with it the indisputable elements of convenience, proximity and familiarity.

The intimacy of one's surroundings does not limit the occasion for exploration.  There is no need when visiting a place to go abroad, to "get on your horse and ride off in all directions".  The misconception that it is possible to see everything, everywhere is unfortunate as it sandpapers the often unforeseen details of the local environment. I won't say that my rogue adventure today qualifies as a spiritual boost but I avow that my discovery of a hidden walkway behind the Catholic church approached transcendent.

The church property like most of the properties on either side of Gulf of Mexico Drive (which extends down the middle of the Island) whether overlooking Sarasota Bay or the Gulf of Mexico - is but a glimpse of what is invariably hidden behind. While I make a point of not trespassing upon property which is patently private I did not see anything which prohibited my cycle about the church property. It is a large estate.  I ventured behind the church itself and even beyond the rectory and activity centre to the back of the property. There I spotted a boardwalk leading into the marshes towards the open water of Sarasota Bay. At the end of the winding boardwalk I found two open decks overlooking Sarasota Bay.  There were benches and an Adirondack lounge chair. It was idyllic!

The path to discovery always means leaving home and returning whence we came to appreciate what we have. It is a journey I welcome no matter where I am, where I call home. It is an exploration I have conducted throughout my life with regularity. Until the time I was 14 years old I had lived in Nova Scotia, Washington DC and Alberta.  Thereafter until the age of 18 years I went to boarding school in Ontario and travelled to Europe twice a year. From ages 18 to 28 I went to undergraduate university, law school, articles and Bar Admission in Toronto, Halifax and Ottawa. It was only when I settled in Almonte for my professional career that I developed something beyond a Nomadic existence. I have however never lost the facility to move and adjust. Likewise I continue to promote the value of my current coat rack. It's always an adventure!

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