Advanced Blather

The wee hours of the morning brought rain, lightning, thunder, and the sound of trees locked in fierce battles with the wind. Some days, but not last night, I would have gotten up to watch and listen, immersing myself—comfortably safe and distant from its most dangerous elements—the experience of Nature. I suppose I was too tired to participate in the spectacle; but I enjoyed hearing it play out and experiencing the flashes of blue light beyond my closed eyelids. This morning, the outdoor temperature is temporarily quite comfortable: 69°F. That pleasant coolness will quickly disappear, the chilly dampness replaced by humid heat, with temperatures reaching 95°F and heat index values climbing to a range of 105°F to 109°F. When the sky barely begins to shed its darkness, I will venture out on the back deck with my cup of coffee. As the sky brightens, I expect to hear the celebratory sounds of bird calls. Unless, of course, last night’s celestial circumstances sent those feathered friends away, seeking shelter from the storm.

I could use far less intense, expressive language to describe last night’s experiences and this morning’s expectations. But what joy would that bring to me? Why waste the energy in my fingers on dull expressions of fact when I can take advantage of my phalanges’ flexibility by describing reality as seen through an emotional lens? There is a distinction between expressive language and overuse of adjectives and adverbs—the latter frowned on by so-called experts in writing. On one hand, I cringe when I hear or read descriptions that flood me with what I consider entirely unnecessary fat. On the other, fat is what gives language its flavor, so I forgive myself the occasional—or frequent—overindulgence. I am not writing for third-party publication, after all, so I can safely offend self-described experts without fear of economic reprisals.


And, now, at a quarter to six, the rain has come again. But it seems to have tapered off, just as I completed that sentence. I wonder, does Nature hear me think? Does Nature respond to my thoughts and my arthritic fingers by making a liar of me? I believe the correlation between my assertions and the sudden reversal of what I describe is purely coincidental. Unless, of course, Nature enjoys toying with me, doing everything possible to drive me over the extremely narrow mental ledge on which I stand. The very idea that Nature is capable of such intentional and potentially criminal trickery is absurd, but… I may need to explore getting a restraining order which could give me ammunition if I ever have to file an injunction. Ach! I just noticed the temperature has risen four degrees since I first noticed how cool the computer said it was; it is now 73°F. There it is! It IS intentional! I would not be surprised in the least to find myself involved in spontaneous combustion by mid-afternoon. “Spontaneous combustion” indeed! That’s just a euphemism for arson committed by Nature.


We had a delightful Caribbean lunch yesterday at the Caribbean Café. Jerk shrimp and chicken, conch fritters, rice N peas, Calypso cabbage, Jamaican meat patty. There may have been more, I think, but my memory is almost a day older now, so it can be excused for its aging imperfection. The place used to be open only a few hours each week, but I think its hours have expanded in recent weeks or months; it is now open Friday through Monday. Most of the menu is awash in carbohydrates, which I have been advised to avoid, but I have to weigh the dangers of an unhealthy, early death against the joys of a rich and full life. I would prefer to avoid the former and maximize the latter, but apparently a long, healthy life and a rich and full life may not be compatible. I am only half jesting. Or, perhaps, I am trying to excuse the recent decline in my full-throated discipline. An occasional lapse is forgivable. Why is harsh discipline not appropriate for children, but harsh self-discipline is expected of adults? Someone should explore that in depth and report on it.


The latest news: Yellow trucking company is shutting down and is expected to file for bankruptcy as early as today. If that occurs, some 30,000 jobs will be lost.


It’s now just after six and I must go outside soon or I will miss the tolerable temperatures. So I will end this useless blather. Give yourself a hug and a kiss from me. I’ll do it myself later, unless you object. Some people do not like to be touched or fondled by strangers.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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