Memoir of a Rural Sisyphus-Redux



Memoir of a Rural Sisyphus-Redux

Bill Engleson

For a few years, I kept a diary of my inauguration into the Denman Community. This column, recently renamed Memoir of a Rural Sisyphus-Redux, will

extract a few of my observations from a dozen or so years ago and share them. Hopefully, they will have some modern times currency. Some will. Some will not.

Turning sixty-two


I am 62 today. Not a particular interesting age really, not a milestone that might cause one to think much about it, though apparently I am. Briefly, I consider who I was when I was the inverse…twenty-six. That was in 1973. I was floating that year. Working p/t in a youth center, afternoon, and evening till quite late shifts, sleeping in the next day, missing the freshness of each morning. I was unfocussed, mostly uninterested in the world, not so much out of careless neglect but consumed by each of my minutes, my own journey, wondering what might change, what might not. In some ways, quite similar to today though I do have a larger worldview these days. Hope I do, anyways, though that is hard to confess, that earlier me. And maybe I was more in the world back then than I remember.

The weather outside today is blustery and a bit damp. Fat rain, fatter snow and drizzle make appearances, as it did yesterday. Then, just as I was about to take a dunk in the hot tub, a deluge sprung forth. I do not like to get wet when I am… wet.

Aging is palpable. Eyes water more, bones are wearier, eyelids seem heavier. I am watching a bit of Flynn’s Sea Hawks. He was thirty-one at the time he filmed it, glowing with youth. Some weeks ago, I watched him in The Sun Also Rises. He looked like he’d been sleeping rough for a century even though he was only in his mid-forties.

He would die suddenly a couple of years later in Vancouver. He was fifty. By many accounts, he spent the latter part of his life in debauchery. I heard somewhere that he was buried with six bottles of his favourite whiskey. That seems a waste somehow.

I look in the mirror. We have several of them, spotted around the house like speed traps. In my skin (and I know everyone says this) I feel not a whit older than when I was a ragamuffin doltish adolescent. My mind is sharp, or at least hardly in need of grinding. Some of my usual bodily functions (and here I do not now nor ever want to describe exactly what I mean, especially as my father, God bless him, seemed intent in his later years in going into precise detail on what was up to snuff and what was a bit sluggish) are wearing down, but, all in all (even with the implanted teeth and the partial new right knee), I’m holding my own.