Rendered Fat Content


James McNeill Whistler: Man in Plaid Shirt (Not dated)

"Shifting impressions flicker before me …"

It seems perfectly representative of how change works when, with me focusing intently upon whatever I've decided to change, the context within which I labor shifts instead. It might even be that change usually works like this, that the budding change agent always labors under some misconception that whatever he's doing might prove directly useful, when it more often sums to something different than expected. I seem to mostly experience ContextShifting, which changes the meaning of whatever I'd been so intently 'fixing.' It's not so much that I'm powerless, just relatively clueless. It might be that the resulting change was what I would have wanted had I been adequately prescient at the beginning. Change seems more often what we receive rather than what we directly engineer, our job, my job, largely to make up some story that eases acceptance and encourages gratitude toward what I never really intended.

I might focus upon context if I really want to more directly influence outcomes, but I question whether I really want that level of control.
Do I want to know how an effort will turn out? Really? Or do I utterly depend upon some variance to surprise, frustrate, and ultimately delight me? Synchronicity seems uncommonly wise and I often feel so commonly stupid, it might just be best if I cannot credibly contest how it turned out in the end. While I've been busy Reconning through this quarter, my life's gone on without my necessarily noticing. Such focused distraction might be the very best medicine, for some of these shifts seem painful and are not improved by too awfully much attention. That pleasing sense of magical manifestation depends upon ample misdirection, hence our stated purposes and objectives. The resulting focus often sufficiently distracts and anesthetizes the change agent while his future emerges.

A few days before I finish my Reconning, I commence to fussing over what my next focus should be. This activity amounts to chasing rainbows. Rainbows exist. One can take a photograph of them, but never touch one, never get close enough to get to that fabled pot of gold hidden at the end of each. They seem a notional presence, seen but not confirmed, mercurial, eternally out of reach, just like one of my series focuses. In that sense, it does not matter my stated intention as long as it proves sufficiently attractive to maintain my attention. It's purpose will never be to finally produce the definitive definition of itself, but to keep me distracted enough to keep out from under whatever ContextShifting might occur.

I started listing all I've gained from focusing upon Reconning this quarter. I've gained more than I can see so far. While the stories came just when I needed them, they left just as quickly, creating only hummingbird impressions, taking quick sips and leaving phantom presences. I'm never quite certain I saw anything, and re-reading each story can prove incredibly boring. They each served their purpose, like a blossom serves its purpose, then fades and falls, its fate seemingly sealed before the bud burst forth yet still without insignificance. Each holds more impact than should be obvious. The whole history of that plant remains embodied within itself, that blossom and the next each playing their part without ever once fully representing the whole. So it goes. Shifting impressions flicker before me while ContextShifting, real and lasting change, continues behind.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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