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Pietro della Vecchia: A fortune-teller reading the palm of a soldier (circa 1626-1678)
"I fear that I'm way too dependent upon what my forebears just adapted to in moments of sometimes overwhelming extremis."

According to the weather ForkAssed five nights ago, we would be experiencing much colder weather and snow this morning, so I spent the following five days anticipating its arrival, certain of my near future. This certainty encouraged me to thoroughly prepare, to tear down the summer garden, drain the hoses, stack the pots, and rake up the fallen pine needles. The Muse and I put away stores that might have serviced Admiral Perry's Antarctic Expedition. I switched out the screen door for the solid glass one. I spent yesterday's late afternoon swishing a broom over the front porch before just sitting there because I knew for certain I'd be sitting inside for the foreseeable future. Even the cats seemed to sense an impending end to just slipping up the hill to stalk field mice. Neither of them seemed to really want to come in, not even to extraordinary enticements. I empathized with their sentiments.

Once in, with the fireplace throwing heat, it's impossible to beat the cozy snowed-in feeling.
Beforehand, you'd probably think that Armageddon was at hand for all the dreading I'm throwing off. We're almost certain of running out of milk before this storm passes. This situation will force me to attempt an heroic trip up to the village store where I'll learn that my neighbors arrived before me and cleaned out their stock. This discovery will challenge me to crawl out onto the Interstate just two exits west, then to wend my way up and over the little pass separating El Rancho and Bergen Park, where a supermarket's parked next to an elk meadow. The store will be overflowing with refugees seeking company. I'll be seeking milk with all the fervor of a Pilgrim seeking salvation. I'll think myself particularly valiant when I return home with my catch.

In prior times, only soothsayers ForkAssed anything. Farmers might read horsetail clouds to foresee rain coming and sailors took as warning, red skies in the morning, but neither could anticipate a week or more into the future. The Muse's Great-grandfather, after arriving in this country, was, one October day, plowing up some prairie when a snow squall ensued. He managed to lead his oxen as far as the barn, but couldn't see his cabin through the white-out conditions. Two days later, he wandered out into the snowfield which had been his yard to find his sod house completely buried in snow, a smoke hole up through the snowbank the only tell that his cabin containing his wife and small son were buried beneath there. Nobody prepared for that memorable winter of 1880-81 because no one had ForkAssed it coming. We now mostly know what's coming next, and seem to get upset when we cannot yet know whatever we want, the way spoiled children get.

Wildfires rage up along the higher reaches of The Front Range, and homeowners interviewed on the nightly news seem pissed that authorities cannot predict when they might finally get a handle on the situation. Managers daily report the percentage containment as if anyone could reasonably predict the end of anything from those proclamations, for fires do not grow or slow according to any discernible pattern. They tend to blow up without warning and hop over two miles of rock surrounding their next landing place. For us, these days, an absence of knowing, even with something as trivial as a few days' snowing, seems almost unconscionable, an intolerable ignorance. Perhaps this explains our increasing arrogance. Wasn't there a character in some old myth or legend who gained the gift of foresight only to come to understand that it was the worst kind of curse imaginable? I can blow out the drip irrigation system beforehand but also fritter away my non-refundable time anticipating in lieu of simply living. I too strongly suspect that I know where almost everything's going, my near future seemingly secure. I fear that I'm way too dependent upon what my forebears just adapted to in moments of sometimes overwhelming extremis. Me? I get to be a hero for fetching a gallon of milk on plowed out streets and returning as if I'd cheated certain death. I ForkAssed that our forkassting might be smothering something significant within us.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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