Rendered Fat Content


Ohara Koson: Two white geese swimming by reeds (1928)
"I'd chase more geese any time it's possible."

Near the end, usually, an opportunity appears to turn tedious ladders into rapidly accelerating chutes, an apparent shortcut appears. Of course, by long tradition, most anyone would grab this opportunity like the lure it most certainly seems, rubber worm and all. Even I, experienced refurbisher now, fell prey to this call. Our carpenter had located the material he needed to refurbish the long window seat and shelves in our soon-to-be showcase library. Those boards were in Portland, 245 miles away, and the supplier couldn't say if FexEx® would even consent to ship the stuff. I volunteered to drive over and back to collect the boards, insisting that they be no longer than five feet so that they'd fit into The Schooner. Joel Our Carpenter missed the confirming call and by the time he'd caught up to it, the outlet had closed for the day. That was Wednesday.

We parted that evening with the understanding that Joel would call me just as soon as he'd confirmed that the order was ready.
The shop opened at eight, so I planned on departing at five after. The shop, though, wasn't answering. I was concerned about making it back by sunset and at this latitude in this season, I had a very narrow window within which to operate. Nobody was answering the phone. I made the executive decision by eight twenty to head out in the general direction of Portland, figuring that I might arrive just after noon. I put my head down and drove, thinking that I was making an end run which should shorten the path to finished and done. Two hours later, I pulled off the road to check for an update, curious that Joel hadn't called.

He answered quickly, reporting that he'd tried to contact me. I had been driving through real hinterlands. He reported that the shop might have our order ready by Friday afternoon, but more likely by Monday. Where was I? Almost but not quite halfway to Portland. I turned around and headed back towards The Villa to regroup, figuring that I really must have needed a drive that morning. I wasn't mourning as I returned. I didn't feel as though I'd been burned, though I could have, might have scorched myself, but only slightly. I made a move on speculation and it hadn't quite worked out. Had it worked, it might have bought us a day on the imaginary schedule. It might have made me feel fleetingly powerful, but it didn't. I had not been in anything like any desperate need for those boards. Joel reported a flareup of a periodic condition and took the rest of the day off. He might be finished for the week.

On the return drive, I reflected on this experience. It felt damned familiar and I concluded that GooseChasing might commonly appear when a conclusion draws near. That faint resistance that always seems to appear, the slight repulsion inhibiting conclusion encourages a kind of magical thinking, producing a salvation prophesy. "I know, I could drive to Portland!" The revelation seems awfully attractive, in a fell swoop sort of fashion, an opportunity to slip past gravity and make something happen. Many projects inject some lofty-seeming GooseChasing activity near the end. These efforts often come to naught but are not usually in any way damaging to the project. They're probably a needed and necessary distraction signifying little to nothing. Like I said to myself, I must have needed a long drive through hinterlands that morning.

It might be that the surest sign of real progress shows up as a GooseChase, an opportunity to accelerate past some milestone that probably won't much matter in the long run. Chasing geese can feel exhilarating, even if there's never much chance of ever catching one, and even if catching one tends to produce a feathers flying experience. One chases geese as an affirmation, confirmation that one's still believing that it might still be possible to accomplish something by employing personal initiative. An end run. A walkoff homer. A basket at the buzzer. Sometimes these even work, but nobody's any poorer when they don't and they often don't. One might, though, chase geese to become a tad bit wiser. I'd chase more geese any time it's possible. I might even seriously consider myself to be a died-in-the-wool goose chaser.


Fridays come whether one's chasing geese or not. This one's no exception. A bleak drizzly rain greets me this morning, leaves slowly sogging where I didn't find time to properly clean them up, what with all my GooseChasing and all. It is, after all, Fall, and the leaves have definitively fallen. We're painting indoors now and stepping on each other and on ourselves, working final edges. We won't be done refurbishing by Thanksgiving. We won't even be back into the dining room by then. Autumn seems the perfect season for a refreshing GooseChasing to provide the promise of closure and a touch of wishfulness again.

I began my writing week removing wallpaper, but it could have been anything, in
Removals, my most popular posting this period. "Without the prospect of impending Removals, we're forced to behave like grownups. The little people inside these big people bodies will need to go into hibernation for a season or two."

I then posted a paean to the heart of this house, its
Hearth "If any element of any house can rightfully be considered its center, I suspect that the Hearth usually holds that position, if only due to the sense that Hearth IS home and thereby irreducible."

My obligatory political screed for the week scratches at negative knowledge and the curious ability some hold to not say "No!" to some damaging beliefs in
NotNoing. "It's certainly a perversion of the whole notion of democracy to believe that we should be able to decide everything by voting."

I next posted a piece about preparation, how I don't think very much about it while still steadfastly engaging in it, exemplified this time by
Taping. "The set-up was the joke. The context was the purpose."

I spoke with evident dismay when I reported that Our Grand Refurbish seemed to have devolved into
Disarray. "We might never finish, but we're real close to done …"

Then, the next day, I reported that we had just zoomed further ahead in
Spurt. "The very best of efforts exhibit this sort of flawlessness. They advance exclusively via Spurts and stalls yet upon reflection, they unfold in near perfection …"

I ended my writing week reflecting upon home ownership, true love, and
Adopting. "Nothing turns off the present and no future directly influences anything before it, though the sense that we're not quite there yet can tear asunder even the truer loves. We are always here yet and never quite there yet."

I might have become a poster boy for context's influence this writing week. My primary inspiration seems to have been whatever was going on around me, which probably ain't much different than usual, but it felt different. I fear that I've become uninteresting, writing about removing wallpaper and Hearths, NotNoing, Taping, Disarray, Spurts, and Adopting. I have nothing else to draw from. The sun and the leaf cover, prominent presences through the recent Summer and Fall, have both gone now, the sun working part time hours and the leaves, retired. I'm inspired by obligations now, the necessary evils and blessings of everyday living, small stuff, considering. Thank you for following along beside me, supporting me as I make this stuff up as we go along together.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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