Rendered Fat Content


Winslow Homer: The Brush Harrow (1865)

" … hoping for better without ever really expecting it."

Spring threatens before arriving. I can imagine it already here, even before the equinox, even while it continues snowing some mornings. The sun's angle serves as inexorable evidence of its imminent arrival. I'm caught unprepared. Even if I had properly prepared last Fall, I would still feel unprepared because everything suddenly wants doing at once. Wherever I might begin will feel like the wrong place to start, a distracting sideshow from the actual effort needed. It doesn't matter where I get started. It very much matters that I begin.

However much I might have prayed for these days' arrival, I will drag my heels.
I will attempt to continue my hibernation, and I will not stop dozing. My head has grown accustomed to the pillow, and the weight of every meal insists upon me napping. I imagine myself BreakingGround, preparing soil more than I witness myself engaging. The apricot tree, a sacred presence, blooms before my pruning saw can touch it. Spring slips in while I'm watching, powerless to slow it and equally impotent to keep up. It drags me into my future, almost kicking and screaming.

Here I stand near the center of the universe, and I cannot seem to stand steady and tall. I feel supremely unprepared. My swerve into Publishing has left my writing in tatters and my self-esteem in somebody else's toilet. Suddenly inept, I see the ground so long untended. I know what I need to do but hesitate to begin. My hands feel like amber, technically liquid but solid stone for most intents and purposes. Not quite entirely turned to stone, I feel primarily comprised of unknowns. I am a statue of myself. I make a fool of myself by attempting the formerly impossible only to prove just how impossible it was. I will persist, but I will not seem at all quick. I trail behind myself, far behind my intentions. What if I woke up in Heaven or Springtime and found myself still just as frozen as I felt through Winter?

If now isn't the time, the time will never arrive. Sooner than presently imaginable, full Summer will be upon us, and I'll be working the shady sides of the yard. What was not turned and smoothed will seem impenetrable again then. Now serves as the window into the whole upcoming year, shockingly already here and preparing to run. I have more undone than I ever accomplished and more work to do than I ever actually managed to complete. Working with unfamiliar tools, I flail. I repeatedly forget my Pastwords while attempting to balance my meager talents on the head of another virtual pin. I embarrass myself with my innocence. I should know better but don't. I might not ever learn better, either. I tell myself that I'm learning, but I deeply doubt it. I am shoving forward, BreakingGround, hoping for better without ever really expecting it.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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