Rendered Fat Content


Because our relocation to the East Coast was kinda forced, we never divorced the left coast when we moved back here. That change left ragged liaments from our former rooting which encouraged us to feel exiled for the longest time. We decided last New Years, by fiat, to declare the exile over, but the connections remain. My excursion back into that space only re-encouraged those connections.

One should never revisit the scene of any crime or blessed event, lest the witnesses implicate you. They were there. Though you might strenuously deny your presence, they’ll have you out, and your credibility should plummet. But I didn’t deny my presence, I more than implicated myself. I explicated myself, kimono wagging in even that slight breeze. I’m exposed as a principle. I have no credible defense.

I work to right wrongs which could only have been properly avoided, playing make-up ball, hoping to reverse some few ounces of lost pounds of guilt. I work harder than anyone should expect anyone to work, and leave feeling like a genuine slacker. There will be no recovery.

On the other side of the country, the deer freely munch on my painstakingly prepared garden, caretaker oblivious to the damage. I am there, not here, or here, not there, and therefore never fully present anywhere. I might say that I am bi-coastal now, but that declaration reduces into a statement of my absence, and therefore not really an identity at all.

I have grown familiar to too many back roads. I recognize these names, and can envisage where each goes. I live in much more than the moment now, but in the hours leading up to each moment and the hours receding away from each as well. I’m playing fifteen chess moves ahead, but also at least fifteen moves behind. This game leaves me placeless, a virtual alien as well as a confirmed native in two places at once. Utopia. Nowhere.

I ache for simpler times I do not even distantly believe in. Not only can one never unflush the great toilet of life, but we’re better off for that inability. Yet I yearn for the other, the mono-coastal existence, surrounded only by the familiar, however annoyingly familiar that familiarity might be.

I know my way around even here. I can, after five and nearly a half years here, imagine a route to almost anything I might desire. I have friends I could never have stumbled into had I stayed in one place. I have a palate those who stayed might envy. Please do not.

I have no idea of the purpose of this life. It might be to defend familiar ground. It might be to try to colonize as much foreign ground as possible. It might be to become a chameleon or an ambassador or a feather on capricious breezes. The original rooting ground will tug, and perhaps should tug, and one should rightfully ache for that place, especially when far away from it.

I do not love my country. Country seems far too abstract a notion to ever elicit anything like a decent love. I do love the dirt I improved through several seasons, adding organic material and love in lopsided measures, and burying my heart, or a significant piece of it, there, too.

I can stand now in the space I stood fifty and more years ago, when I was delivering dawn newspapers on my bike, and hold a four year-old’s hand, my granddaughter, and feel more connected to that space than when I was a child there myself, even though I enter a Maryland zip code when the gas pump asks after my billing address zip code. I am straddling now, not just my century, but my continent; my life. I stand in two places; one right, the other left, and seem to hover over all the space between.

Where do I live? Where is my life unfolding? Both places? Neither? Someplace else? Life seems to expand outward from itself until it exceeds the modest boundaries the life-giver imagined. We are here, now, and there, then; and neither here nor there, probably not somewhere else, either. The more we become, the more we are not. We become indescribable, no matter how we might splice together our various lives.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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