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Ohara Koson: Two Mallard Ducks and the Moon (Early 20th century)
"Faith is not unsupported belief but the belief in uncanny experience …"

I recognize that Our Grand Refurbish has elbowed its way into perhaps more stories than warranted or wanted through this series. In explanation if not apology, Our Grand Refurbish has subsumed most of my foreground and background focus for many months. I've recently been bemoaning absences, primarily of closure, for this party's extended beyond celebration and nudged into a wicked form of self-punishment. What began with enthusiasm, albeit naive, evolved into frustration as the end game refused to coherently line up. Each attempt to decisively end the effort found only a fresh barrier preventing further forward movement. Reliable suppliers failed us. Sick days stalled us. Weather drove us inside. We could see what still needed doing but we could not quite manage to get there from here. I knew that something important was missing but I could not clearly state what that something might have been. That absence was not prescriptive.

I recognize that this was always how endings emerge but I'd somehow lost accessibility to that knowledge.
The myths might well insist otherwise, that it's discipline and dedication, hard work and vision, but you and I both know from experience that those stories are fiction. What actually happens seems more mysterious but easily recognizable. What happens? A LineADucks. The Gordian Knot which seemed absolutely un-untieable kinda sorta unties itself, co-opting the need for clever intervention. Barriers evaporate and the exit opens up before me. Exit conditions start falling into place in ways probably more ruled by synchronicity than skill. I will seem wise to simply shut the you-know-what up and follow.

Until those ducks line up, it never really matters much what one does. No clever plan could compensate for those eerily absent preconditions, whatever they entail. It's no deflection to insist that only the future can foresee itself. Until the time becomes right, resolution's impossible. Once aligned, though, it becomes almost impossible not to finish, often with a flourish. It might well appear that preparation positioned me to finally see my way through this labyrinth of my own making, but I intended no tangle and engineered no exit. If I contributed anything to its emergence, that something was patience, though my teeth-gritting seemed more prominent. In fact, I had stalled and felt increasingly powerless, and I might as easily explain that my acceptance of my powerlessness, bordering on wallowing in it, cleared the way for completion. The ducks decided to align themselves. Nobody herded them into place, and on reflection, it usually happens like this.

This outcome might best explain why I'm wise to avoid rushing the exit, as I was reflecting just yesterday. Rushing spooks the ducks which just have to line themselves up for the exit pathway to appear. One can certainly choose to bull one's way through annoying barriers, but that violence carries a cost. It seems to insult the beneficence which was trying to muster just when you decided to bluster your way through. It sure seems something south of clever to elbow out any natural assistance in favor of personal insistence, unnecessary effort which could not possibly produce better. I, too, was hungry for closure. I knew the desperate longing for done. It was agony without respite, torturous irresolution. I almost put down my head and charged the barricades but fortunately, a LineADucks appeared before I broke my own tattered ranks.

Grace doesn't always appear. She sometimes leaves me hangin'. I suspect, though, that I more often hang myself by being decisive. I choose to take my fate into my own hands and force fit what should have—could have—resolved itself. I lose faith that that dawn would ever break, that the Gordian Knot could actually untie itself. I'd lost faith in ducks ever lining up. The physics of pulling myself up by my own bootstraps never could have worked, though it seems unlikely that a LineADucks could help. Faith is not unsupported belief but the belief in uncanny experience like ducks lining up.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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