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The building of the palace of Khavarnaq, from Nizami's Khamsah.
Painting attributed to the master-painter
Bihzad. Herat, late 15th century
"HomeMaking might just be home."

Homemaking's iffy work. Always attempted 'on spec', it follows no fixed path. Largely driven by intentions, no guarantees accompany its effort. One scratches at the Earth without knowing beforehand what might sprout and grow from the effort. Each instance seems distinct enough to cloak expected results. Two months and change into our Grand Refurbishment, our home seems distinctly less homey than it did when we started our work. Of course our work's not yet completed and we do not know what percent complete we are today, as if that was saying anything. Percent Complete has always been one of those bullshit concepts which seem perfectly uncontroversial, yet it presumes as knowable innumerable aspects of a pursuit, rendering any response to the question, "What Percent Complete are you?" not worth the breath expended expressing it. Nobody ever knows. I do know for certain, though, that I've made a Hash of this HomeMaking so far. While some chance remains that we might one day finally realize the home we've so long aspired to own, it's probably more likely that we'll still be aspiring when we die, never having realized what we pursued with such earnestness.

Conservative columnist George Will concluded his Washington Post column this morning by saying, "For Americans, the pursuit of happiness is happiness.'
It might be that the pursuit of Homemaking IS Homemaking, too, whether or not a sense of warm-hearth homeyness ever emerges from the effort. Will precedes his conclusion by quoting Albert Camus as saying that "One must imagine Sisyphus happy." In that same spirit, one must imagine, I guess, each HomeMaker happy, for HomeMaking's a verb without a nominally resolving form. It's not a noun and might never reasonably aspire to become one. One cannot sit at rest and be occupied HomeMaking. Neither does the pursuit come with the promise of laurel wreath or eventual leisure. It's more lifestyle than occupation. It's not measurable in quantities achieved, but in qualities pursued. It is a pursuit measured entirely by dedication and never meaningfully accounted for by results or percentage completions. Dreams do not come true or false. They are the results themselves.

The doldrums come to everyone crossing the Horse Latitudes, a section of the Southern Pacific Ocean where winds are often absent. A sailor could get stuck for days, even weeks, waiting for a puff of a breeze that might nudge him toward his objective. The breeze came at the breeze's discretion, not at the sailor's intention. All real change, like all real improvement, passes through Horse Latitudes. The sameness of the surroundings do not seem comforting then, but frustrating. The world refuses to work as it once seemed destined to work and progress becomes circular. We expend time discovering fresh barriers to progress. Done seems ever more remote and distant the harder we pedal. I imagine holidays on card tables with half the rooms still unusable while we wait for material still on backorder. I scramble to focus each day's effort lest we fritter away our opportunity on meaningless trivialities. What might make a definite difference?

It was my idea to focus my narrow attention upon HomeMaking as the theme of this waning quarter's writing, and so I did focus my attention there. I'd imagined that we might nudge through to a rough completion by the end of this quarter, and we've accomplished much while completing little. The dining room's 100% completed if you don't count the light fixture installation, which is waiting until mid-November for an electrician to install a box in the ceiling to hold that light. The now grand staircase still has at least a couple of weeks of work before we can even think about calling it complete and the next two weeks, those treads really need to be curing under unthreatening conditions. The tangles will eventually unknot themselves and this time will come to seem magical again. I pray that the upcoming complications leave us feeling hopeful rather than cynical about this object of our desire, Home. Home where our hearts laid in hibernation through our over-long exile, awakening to discover that HomeMaking creates where the heart will one day be, not where it ever really is at all. For humans, HomeMaking might just be home.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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