Rendered Fat Content


Paul Gauguin: Self-Portrait (1885)
"They left me behind to carry on something."

As near as I can tell from here, I'm still growing up. I doubt that I'll ever finish or even make all that much headway. It might have been youthful fancy that once convinced me that I might one day mature, and that it might prove to be a cure for what plagued me in my youth. I imagined that my native indecisiveness might one day grow into clear convictions, but that hasn't happened yet. I'd thought that experience might buy me a certain tranquility in the face of fierce uncertainty, but I'm still struggling with that koan. The very notion that evolution might apply to my own little micro-climate now seems absurd, for while I'm not precisely who I started out as, I'm remarkably unchanged after passing through this veil, perhaps myself now, only more so. Somehow, everyone else seems matured. My classmates became beyond middle age to more closely resemble their parents, I still feel exempted, except when my mirror lies to me, which it conspires to do daily. I know more but feel no smarter. I've many times been there and back again, but retain a similar curiosity as I held at the beginning, as if those excursions hadn't quite taken. Each morning seems new all over again, undiscovered like a familiar toy I'd lost then found, certain to lose again.

I accept just how ineptly I've overcome my challenges and yet I still managed to overcome them.
I begin to believe that elegance holds almost no relevance, and that the dances we perform here might have never been intended to become anything more than rough and clumsy. My generosity, particularly when applied to me, might be my most powerful trait. I figure that I'll never get anything just right and that this makes no case for complacency. This was never a race. There never was a first place or a last one, just a present bleeding into a past with a future out of reach. Everything matters but not overwhelmingly.

I have become neither autonomous nor anonymous. I still don't quite know who I am and so I continue discovering, deferring conclusions. It might be that 'am' can't qualify as a human attribute, that we cannot be so blithely categorized, or at least that I can't be. Every damned thing's a complication and the resulting combinatorials prove incalculable. We might sum to nothing so much as null. I attribute to others what I cannot ascribe for myself. I believe others wise or knowing while understanding that I'm neither, and I have little understanding of where I might be going from here. I'd say that I live day-to-day, but even that notion begs a better comprehension of 'day' than I actually possess. I'm not quite free-floating. I seem anchored some places through often disoriented. I sense no destination.

I thought my grandfathers experienced and foolish. Both maintained youthful habits well into and clear through their older ages. Their youthful insistences might have finally done them in. I imagined that they might have been afraid of what they'd gotten themselves into, veterans of an age more distant now than the Civil War was then. I see myself becoming more and more like them. They grew to become passengers more than drivers, and then beloved inconveniences, frustrations one tolerated if only for tradition's sake. When word came that they'd passed, I wondered where to. I suspect that they'd before come to wonder what they'd GroanUp into. They left me behind to carry on something. I'm still not certain what. I suppose that they never knew, either.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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