Saturday, December 20, 2008

Thoughts on Solstice Eve on Life's Absurdities

It all feels a bit absurd, yet completely if absurdly correct and corrective to be comfy and photonically stimulated in Maui at a time of the year when I'm normally incapable of much because of SAD. My brain feels like it will never get enough light.

The absurdity of lights wrapped around the trunks of palm trees, as in the picture to the left, taken at dawn yesterday, is counterbalanced by the thought of how absurd it would be to be languishing in Vancouver yet again right now, during this nadir of the wheel of the year, incapable of accomplishing anything much, forced into retreat because of the hubbub that occurs around "celebrating" the season, forced into idleness because of not being capable of stringing very many thoughts together in any case.. That's one kind of idleness, which feels like uncomfortable, dreadful, involuntary, forced idleness. Here, I'm actively trying to squeeze in as much "nothingness" as I possibly can. It's a completely different way to frame idleness, I'm learning..

Everything, no matter where one is this time of year, feels absurd, I suppose... It's 3 PM here and I'm drinking my first coffee of the day, in shirt sleeves and bare feet, outside on the balcony, enjoying my skinny little laptop (the only thing about me that is). The coffee is left over from yesterday. I've learned to make a potful, pour off a fresh cup, and let the rest get cold in the fridge, then drink it cold, mixed with half milk. Then drink it whenever I like.

But I'm learning to like actively adopting this kind of idleness as opposed to feeling out of synch with the other kind. Here, cultivating idleness is a fine art. People say hi, make polite but minimal chitchat (my favorite kind), as they make a slow beeline for the nearest deck chair to just sit, look, watch, rest, doze in the light. Everyone remains a stranger. No one wants to know your business or how you plan to spend Christmas or where you are going and who you'll be with, or what you plan to eat. No one here could care less about any of that stuff. Everyone is here to get away from their lives and entanglement in others' lives.

New arrivals are easy to spot. They seem edgy and anxious and too chatty. They have not yet learned to slow down so that the clock moves faster than they do. I've been here two weeks now, and my inner clock has slowed down to the point where I get asked on the street for directions to this place or that. I must look like I've been here forever or something. I can't possibly look like I know...

Right now in the pool down below my balcony is a new arrival from some land of -17C. He is around 40, I guess, somewhat heavy, and is burping, loudly and repeatedly. Perhaps the water is pressing his diaphragm upward. He is relaxing.

Life is absurd no matter where one is, or how far one is inside of or out of one's own element, but at least here it is pretty, colorful, warm, sunny, the air is extremely comfortable, there is no change of temperature from inside to outside to endure, the surf is endlessly reassuring, rhythmic, beautiful, and the different colors of ocean are a feast for the visual cortex. It's a really absurd and delightful way to get around, get through SAD, to get over what feels more and more like an ever-enlarging psychological hump at the end of every year.

A recurring image I have, that gets more intense the longer I live in Vancouver, is of myself, spread eagled onto a wheel of the year which looks like a wheel of fortune - the wheel spins and I spin with it, and every December my head goes FWAP! against the flexible brake. Don't know when the wheel will stop completely, but sure don't like those fwaps. Want to minimize them, change the picture somehow.

I have a link to a webcam of Barrie, Ontario, a place I'm considering moving to, perhaps, one of the several possibilities that exist and tumble over each other in the back of my mind as it sifts and sorts and tries to plan a way to gracefully age with more photons to enjoy meanwhile. It is at 44 degrees latitude and is under a wide blue sky, which seems more attractive for winter months, despite the snow, than Vancouver. At the moment of course, it can't compete with where I am just now. But I will look at Barrie every day, and continue to let my brain mull it over. Moving to Barrie seems less absurd in many ways than does remaining in Vancouver and needing to eject to Maui on a yearly basis. Although it wouldn't be that bad a life to stay in Vancouver and come here every winter, and although everyone around me in this place does exactly that, every year (there are people here who have been coming here regularly for 25, 35 years), there are drawbacks which seem absurd.

Advantages of moving to Barrie
1. minimize the carbon footprint by reducing the overall number of trips needed to get away to get photons,
2. increase the overall photon level year round, perhaps permitting my brain to fully recover from SAD in a few years,
3. expose my physicality to a bit more rigor by acclimating to differing temperatures throughout the year, similar to what I experienced growing up and to age 33.
4. don't have to move to Maui, become American, and give up the Canadian health system.

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