Monday, November 14, 2016

Evanston: birthdays past; YOU WANT IT DARKER

        Chicago’s mild autumn continues.  Temperatures have often been 10ºF/5.5ºC above normal and we have yet to drop to 32ºF/0ºC.  Usually the first freeze comes in mid-October.
        My birthday was cloudy and windy.  Walking to the lake we were protected by buildings until we reached the lakefront, where we were buffeted by twenty and twenty-five knot gusts.  Three lines of four foot waves were breaking.
        The day was just as I had envisioned, ending with an excellent bottle of wine, followed, naturally, by Laphroaig.
        There was a small delay when Carol had to go to the Fire Department to obtain a bonfire permit before lighting all the candles on the cake.
        At one point she asked me where I was on past birthdays.
        We both remembered that on my sixtieth we were on THE HAWKE OF TUONELA in a gale near the Canary Islands during the passage from Gibraltar to Dakar.
        I knew that I was here on my seventieth, a few months after my first eye surgery, but I wasn’t certain about sixty-five.  This journal goes back that far, and that's what journals are far, so I looked it up and found that I was on THE HAWKE OF TUONELA on her mooring in Opua.
        I was amused to read that ten years ago I thought I might run into problems doing my age in push-ups around 2013.  Despite a torn shoulder, I’ve blown past that and, if I avoid further injury or illness, now think I’m good until at least 2021.
        A few people wrote asking the secret of my longevity.  That's easy.  The good die young.


        Leonard Cohen had to die before I knew who he was.  I had heard and liked his songs, some of which were generational anthems, but did not know that he wrote them.  Articles about him following his death few days ago at age eighty-two caused me to buy several of his albums from iTunes last evening.  I listened to them while watching the Seahawks/Patriots with the television sound muted and regretted my long ignorance of his music.
        His talent endured, perhaps even strengthened, to the end.  YOU WANT IT DARKER was released three weeks before his death.  I like every track.
        Here is a link to a tribute to him from a friend.