Rendered Fat Content


Thomas Cole: View of Schroon Mountain,
Essex County, New York, After a Storm

" … appearing more or less unbidden, wet and fearful …"

Anyone insisting that they grew up in the Good Old Days was not paying attention then. The Old Days I hail from would not nearly pass muster today. It was impossible then to find a decent loaf of bread in wheat country, and even the largest cities lacked a decent cup of coffee. People smoked with impunity and drank Coke® without irony. We might have gone to church each Sunday but we went right back to our same-old secular ways come Sunday evening. We were innocently and ignorantly every -ist in today's playbooks, and damned proud of it, mostly. Say what you might about 'wokeness,' but its precursor amounted to worseness, and we are as a people and as a culture getting better, as they say, with few notable exceptions.

Conservatives thrive on the Good Old Days Myth, though a myth it most certainly remains.
Who would really choose to return to those fabled yester years, however many old familiars might return as a result? I acknowledge that I some days ache for lost familiars, but on my better days, I acknowledge that they belonged to that context and might be best just left there. The current days somehow seem better, despite the obvious calamities accompanying them. I feel as though my full time job has become adapting and integrating. If Againing describes an action, that action must be Adaptigrating. Even in those vaunted Good Old Days, that's the way I spent those days, too, encountering puzzling situations and figuring out how to integrate them into my repertoire. My melody seemed much simpler then, most likely because it was. Decades later, the layers of my adaptations and subsequent integrations have become numbingly complex and subtle, requiring a nearly gourmet palette to appreciate its blend of flavors: sweet and bitter, sour and savory, salty and spicy. It's no longer a single theme or a simple story, but one which continually confuses and intrigues me.

I do not pine for simpler times. I do not wish I could unexperience all I've encountered here. I still choke on bitter tears and secretly hope to continue choking for all my remaining years. I swallow other memories so easily I might not notice myself swallowing anything, for they've become first nature, default behavior. Yet no day fails to challenge me. Some days absolutely lay me low, leaving me essentially immobile and indecisive, sincerely uncertain where to move next, unable to adapt in that moment, incapable of integrating yet. I've yet to fully swallow my darling daughter's death, as if holding it in my mouth might somehow enable it to not have quite happened yet. She visits me in vivid dreams and we're working on integrating her absence together, if that makes any sense. I often adapt by making no sense at all, by some process other than sensory or reasonable. Even crazy can serve as integration. Ultimately, anything might do.

As I near the end of this series of Againing stories, I've started processing what they might have meant, what could have connected them into what might later seem as relations, like family. This morning, it seems that adapting and integrating could serve as that connection, that Adaptigrating might be the action each of these stories described. True to my intentions, I did not plan these stories' progression, though in retrospect, the series seems as though it built as if designed to do so. Such trajectories can only ever be determined after, though, and must be emergent, perhaps acts of the reader's projection to fulfill a need or belief in there being a connecting thread. In the middle, like in the past, no real hint of any future state seems all that evident. Some of what I fervently hoped my future might manifest actually came to pass, though I cannot, in good conscious, ascribe those manifestations as caused or created by me. They, too, happened, just like my Good Old Days past had happened, appearing more or less unbidden, wet and fearful, begging for Adaptigrating into something I might finally call my own, and perhaps pine after, after later losing.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver