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"Teach a man to cook and his inheritance will be tiny."

Autumn sits like a bushel basket over the Foothills this morning, filtering light into a thick sauce which moves languidly among the trees suddenly streaked with the first golden leaves. Thirty nine degrees this morning, snow just a little further up into the hills. My head feels as thick as the sunlight sauce, unwilling or perhaps just suddenly unable to think, straight or otherwise. My mother, who was famous around the assisted living facility for her toys, kept a solar powered critter on her windowsill which would dance around when the sun angled in just right. That critter would be staring numbly out the window this morning.
I believe the term for my condition might be 'ill at ease,' a most curious phrase which might mean 'anxiously idling' or 'wound up bored,' a subtle paradox. While the Summertime seems solar powered, Autumn relies upon some different fuel source which requires rediscovery every year. In my youth, the new school year provided adequate motive force to propel me forward into this season, for a new school year seemed like Christmas and adventure all wrapped up in one. New clothes, new supplies, new shoes, new friends, and a whole new schedule of classes and teachers could distract me until I was fully involved. Now, the schedule remains unchanged while the world around me shifts into a lower gear. I feel hyper-aware and uncertain of any direction. My compass seems fogged in.
The Muse built some do-hickey yesterday, buying supplies at The Despot while I trailed along pushing the cart holding ten foot poles like an inept jouster, narrowly avoiding skewering distracted shoppers. On its best days, The Home Despot serves as a gathering point for the severely disoriented, the aisles seemingly especially designed to distract and frustrate, the central organizing principle indecipherable, even to the orange vest-wearing 'sales associates.' It's a blinded leading the blind operation where nobody knows where anything is. Should one accidentally find what they were looking for, it will inevitably be in the wrong size.
The helpful associate attending to us volunteered to saw those twelve footers into more manageable six footers, but he used a saw that, as we suspected, left every piece a little different length. The ten foot poles, I tied to the top of The Zoom Car, but once back at The Villa, I tried to stay out of The Muse's way. She's doubtless better in the shop than I'll ever be, so I set up an extension cord, fished out the drill, stacked empty boxes out of the way, and dragged out the workbench before disappearing inside. I did stop by a few times to offer encouragement and lose the odd part for her, since I doubted she could lose them so effectively on her own. I amused myself cooking supper while she gnashed her teeth trying to decipher the plans. I never did understand what she was building, but I helped hold some pieces while she hacksawed or hammered.
By bedtime, she'd successfully completed construction and even installed the gizmo in her quilting room. I'd managed to roast a chicken and concoct some red chile sauce, both of which seemed to lack the gravitas of her end product, which will likely outlive the both of us. Teach a man to cook and his inheritance will be tiny.
It was dark before the sun set yesterday. Afterwards, torrential rain came battering the deck garden. Lightning followed, and raging thunder in the dark. The windows which had been portholes to the summertime only reflected inward all night. The Muse woke up cold, wondering if the furnace, freshly turned on the prior morning, had failed us in the dark. It had not, though I suspect that it, too, had noticed the sudden absence of light and privately wondered what might power it now. In the absence of solar energy, a kind of natural gas takes over the power plant. The switchover seems impossible until it doesn't anymore.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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