Rendered Fat Content


Rembrandt van Rijn: Old Woman Sleeping (c. 1636)

" … done Dazing for this waning season."

At this latitude, summer changes like a supertanker turns, in a wide, almost indiscernible arc. I might be excused for thinking the first hints mere feints, practice moves with no conviction behind them. Slowly, excruciatingly slowly, though, the easy mornings finally give way to presenting high fifty degree temperatures and I gratefully don a sweatshirt and happily bid goodbye to my sweaty pillows. As almost unbearable as the nights have been, the days have been absolutely overwhelming me. If I was not done with my outside chores by eight, at the very latest nine am, I could forget about completing them that morning. I might occasionally squeak in an additional couple near the end of the day, having by then once again grown somewhat accustomed to the insult to the point where I could complete 'em in hundred degree shade. The bulk of my August days were spent Dazing, in hot weather hibernation, idly gazing, almost dozing. It was my final defense.

Let the record show that I didn't completely collapse, however otherwise misleading appearances might have seemed.
I remained largely sentient, mind busily fantasizing about all I would accomplish once the weather moderated. I understand that such projections reassure more than actually commit anyone to anything, but they fall squarely within the scheming framework, next to daydreaming and woolgathering, productive pursuits if successfully limited to one specific season. I have felt house-bound, as isolated as if snowbound, with little recourse. I took, for perhaps the first time in my life, a few weeks more or less off, accomplishing little, aspiring to less.

I have learned that I burn too easily to even play in the sun. I exclusively wear long sleeves regardless of the temperature, and long pants, too, and broad-brimmed hats in the summer. I would not be caught in private wearing shorts. My only concession to summer shows in the absence of socks. If I go to a beach, I hide in whatever shade I can find, which is usually far away from sand and water. I sit like a statue, head bent over my lap, broad brim shading the back of my neck, sunglasses dimming my perception, reading a book about ordinary times when it's cooler, maybe raining. That's me on vacation. At home, too, in season, I hide from the sunshine, drawing blinds and aiming box fans. I become The Invisible Man, hiding out for good reasons, scheming my next moves.

It's a delicate edge, difficult to determine, when the sequestration's ended. The first few days might well get overlooked, for our protagonist remains spooked and wary. He will not immediately believe that the sun has lost her glaring gaze and he might well spend several otherwise unnecessary additional Dazing days out of a predominance of caution. He finally gets kind of disgusted with himself. His Muse might have reminded him that the scaffolding's costing him money even when he can't use it, a not so subtle hint that he might have milked that heatwave for all it's giving. The Dazing days will not have been wasted, for he was not just dosing there. His Daze-dreaming will have thoroughly decomposed the work before him, imagining almost every possible permutation. He should be ready to hit that scaffolding running. But he must remember even then to hasten slowly. Speed seems the natural enemy of anybody waking up from hibernation or from Dazing. I last evening rearranged the planks. This morning, I mount them again, done Dazing for this waning season. Time at last to finally feel productive again.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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