Forward

forward


"Forward's the only direction on offer here."

At about 2PM MDT yesterday, pretty much the exact moment of Vernal Equinox, a cold front moved across, dropping temperatures, spawning gusty wind, and dulling whatever sun still remained. I closed all those windows which had been open around the clock for the last few months and even thought about turning on the furnace. Later, the house began to take on that moist chill and gloomy character I’d gratefully forgotten about through the sun-drenched months. This morning, the first full day of Fall, clouds hang low and the ground seems saturated. A full herd of Elk, bugling their presence in the pre-dawn mirk, invaded the green space across the street. The season felt fully involved rather than freshly fledged.

Fall’s arrival feels like a failure to me.
It brings that same icy tingle, that persistent sense of dread as if the sky had fallen. Demise seems imminent and unavoidable, the end of something more prominent than any new beginning. I've apparently entered a down elevator when I'd intended to ascend and I see no way off this contraption until I reach the lobby again. I've done so much lobby that I'd hoped never to see that starting place again. Here I go anyway.

Life never was best characterized by a slowly uprising curve. It's more spike-y and trough-y than its mean distribution suggests. Some revel in the higher highs and lower lows, justifying their celebration with long-runs and eventualities, but nobody ever experiences long runs and these seem small consolation when the elevator seems to turn against upward progress. Sure, the seasons will most certainly continue to change, but not one of them will ever change back to the way it was just yesterday, so my celebration feels like a failing more than a success. Were I looking at only a dark night of the soul, I'd feel more reassured. It seems more like dark months in store for this soul this morning.

The great challenge for me always seems to be trying not to take my experiences too awfully seriously. While I might have achieved success, I've not ever directly experienced success because success doesn't seem to be properly classified as an experience. I might more properly classify it as one result of experiences, which in practice, as actually experienced, exhibited that spike-y/trough-y character endemic to every lived life. I never once knew with any certainty how any activity would turn out and the older and supposedly wiser I've become, my certainty has moderated considerably. Where I once deceived myself with unwarranted faith, I now seem to deceive myself with an equally unwarranted skepticism. I don't Do For so much anymore, anticipating some gain from my actions, but simply do without the unnecessary burden of expecting anything in return.

Writing is one of those activities that seems doomed to fail until it doesn't, or it does. My best stuff comes out the same spigot as my worst stuff, and my worst stuff might far outnumber my best. I cannot tell when I start to write whether I'm producing shit or Shinola®, and I'm pretty certain I don't want to know. I don't want to know because I'm better off not needing to know. It's an unknowable then. Should I decide that I need to know any unknowable as a precedent to doing anything, I'm unlikely to engage in much doing. The outcome should rightfully be indeterminate until it isn't. This seems a given.

I enter most activities with a haunting sense of dread, much like I've entered this new season this morning. I still carry a bronzed glow from the immediately prior and can see no likely possibility of reliving what's so clearly past. The purpose of writing isn't to recreate what I've already written, anyway. If my writing has a purpose, that purpose might be to discover (more likely, uncover) something nobody's ever written down before. The likelihood that my effort might result in world class results seems small, given the wealth of great writing already out there. The likelihood of success seems a poor motivator for all but the most dedicated delusional. I fly into fog banks.

I should not even feign surprise when another fog bank overtakes me. The seasons change, boo hoo. I control almost nothing surrounding me and I adapt like a cranky old white guy chasing deer off his lawn. A mentor of mine confided that I could have everything I want or one damned thing after another, but that I'd have to choose between the two. I might have resolved the paradox by choosing to want one damned thing after another. My consternation fuels my forward momentum, sometimes detouring me backward instead of forward, sometimes all the way down rather than another notch higher, often at least convenient times. C'est la vie.

I figure on this first day of AnotherFall that I might just as well choose to want what I've unavoidably got. The alternatives all seem more depressing than a low-hanging sky over a saturated hillside with the sunrise lagging far behind my body clock time. My body clock might catch up to experienced time should I choose to accept what I've got for just what it is rather than for what it is not. AnotherSummer's left behind while AnotherFall bugles itself into focus. I wonder (which translates into 'I dread') what adventure awaits. Forward's the only direction on offer here.

©2017 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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