Rendered Fat Content


François Bonvin: Woman at the Spinet (1860)

" … before conceding that I would not succeed."

Fall predictably brings Foreboding, for we all know what's coming. We do not know—we never know—precisely when, but we understand what's coming next. Summer, which seemed permanent while it lasted, left without notice. I always hold my faith in Summer until it's been well and truly betrayed by a chill wind or days of rain. I never believe in Fall, for it seems to move unreliably, some days hot and some days almost cold, an outlier day nearly eighty, an easily ignored forty early one morning. My sweatshirts creep back into my wardrobe. Socks seem necessary again. As I said, I know where this is going and feel powerless to suppress it.

As usual, my work's backed up.
I recently believed that I might successfully complete the necessary work before something like winter settled in. I feel grateful that I hired the outside painting done, for I could not have hardly begun completing it before Winter would come. I watched, powerless and terminally distracted, as someone else finished my work, and I felt a definite passage. An errant cloud swept across an eclipse, leaving the light diminished but without disclosing who or what was causing this. Autumn brings absence in ever-growing measures. The hopefulness I carried into Summer seemed to slip through my fingers or out the hole in the bottom of my pocket.

I tell myself that I've survived these changes before. This season serves as little more than a temporary interruption of a continuing intention. Those projects I couldn't quite fit into the schedule this year might well find traction next. Nothing's really lost, merely suspended, though it certainly feels as though something significant's already ended. I feel as if I'm living in an aquarium with transparent walls separating me from myself. I feel terribly powerless in the face of this sense that I betrayed my promise. I pursued objectives that were not mine and left my real purpose behind. Now, leaves are falling, and the lawn needs mowing again, and I still cannot quite seem to fit in any of my personal priorities.

We tore down the scaffolding yesterday morning. We fussed, figuring out how to fit it all into the back of the pickup, and repacked the load a couple of times before feeling satisfied. As we entered the scaffolding rental yard, a fine rain began falling. We treated ourselves to a fine lunch and spoke of little of consequence. After, I needed a nap but couldn't sleep. I'd tried to cut out the rotted limb from the sacred apricot but found it too difficult to cut, my angle wrong, my saw arm incapable. I wedged a piece of it down before conceding that I would not succeed. I swept up our mess before closing the garage door and heading inside.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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