I read a couple of newspapers almost every day. I also peruse several curated sites where I trust the editors to choose something other than fake news. My friends and colleagues send me links, which I often follow, gathering ever more detailed information, much of which seems to clog my intake pipe. I try to swallow my share of the incoming, but too-often choke on the quantity if not the quality of it. I'm too-easily overwhelmed.

I try to float above my life, looking down appreciatively if not always skeptically on the proceedings. I can get lost in the details, neglecting to peer through the screaming headlines to recognize even the more universal patterns floating within. And there seem to be universal patterns in there whenever I take the mindful time to observe.

From ground level, shit constantly, unendingly, happens. From other perspectives, some ponies appear to be lurking in there. My challenge, perhaps yours, lies in staying engaged in spite of the obvious crap long enough to see into and through the disturbing disorder. My choice, perhaps, though the kind of choice that doesn't usually appear accessible. Gravity insists in her own inhibiting way. Levitation seems impossible. Flight, mere fantasy.

But fly I must or descend into details certain to smother the best of me. I live in times altogether too interesting to support a decent existence, unless I find those invisible bootstraps or unlikely puppet strings and pull myself up somewhere above the dismaying trivialities.

I believe that I live as if a character in a convoluted work of fiction. Not that nothing's true or that everything's simply made up, but that the plot only seems clear. Fiction, of course, has little to do with the veracity of the details and everything to do with the underlying patterns and messages. It's more allegorical than truthful, intended to amplify truths rather than to simply accurately represent details. Nobody need care that the butler parts his brown hair on the right side.

Furthermore, the significance of any action, of any eye-attracting glint, becomes clear only after the glint appears. In the moment it attracts the eye, its meaning could not possibly be clear (yet), and expending time to delve into its ultimate or true implication, essentially wasted then. We do, it seems, live forward but only ever understand backward, over the shoulder from some necessary distance. My newspapers subtly insist otherwise. Twenty four-seven broadcast news foregos the subtlety to promote unwashed experience of little significance as somehow ultimately significant.

Later, the importance or, more often, the banality of each glint emerges. The role I was actually playing, might then come clearer. In that moment, whether I fancy myself cast as hero or scoundrel, I cannot possibly understand what role I actually play. Ask the playwright what he intended. I'm just a bit player here, which is not to presume that I am a mere automaton, because I'm not, unless, of course, I rush around aroused by every glint catching my eye. Then, I'm hypnotized by the most trivial side of life, Lost In The Details.

I believe that nobility emerges from this curious juxtaposition of presence and emerging significance. I might well observe without entangling myself, and consider in real time the longer scope of my and our collective history, the sort of context where significance might reasonably emerge. There, it might become obvious even to me that my earlier identity as the brown-haired butler who chose to part his thinning hair on the right was actually an undercover secret agent, the only one properly positioned to observe a truly significant unfolding arc of history. Perhaps this was what the old fools used to mean when they'd conspiratorially confide that one lives and learns. The order of their exposition, quite deliberately obscured and, I suspect, equally deliberately spot-on.

I suspect that herein lies perhaps the soul of a more congruent kind of cluelessness, where one can be present and still wondering, details acknowledged without devolving into definition, the story still largely mysterious, but still entertaining, where the notes don't insist upon tangling up the melody.

©2016 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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