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Katsushika Hokusai θ‘›ι£ΎεŒ—ζ–Ž: Fuji with a Scaffold,
Detatched page from
One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku hyakkei) Vol. 3 (circa 1835-1847)

"The next slice will very likely seem completely different …"

I expect some controversy to continue into the far distant future whenever the question of change enters the conversation, particularly whenever the question of how much shift constitutes a "real" change. I contend that infinitesimal shifts might carry significant impact while others contend that nothing very short of a tectonic event creates much difference. I'm noticing, for instance, just how much difference I experience after I finish MovingScaffolding. I yesterday relocated the tower just two lengths down the wall, a distance of about a dozen feet, yet when I hoisted up the pieces to add the third tier, I felt as though I was standing in absolutely uncharted territory. The sea legs I'd so ably demonstrated atop the prior placement abandoned me and the shaky involuntary twerking motion had moved back into my legs again. I realized that I would have to relearn my whole scaffold repertoire, just like every time before. Twelve feet proved ample shift to qualify as significant.

I began the moving back into ritual, placing a plank across the top support, eying the electric service wire with fresh suspicion.
I had been uncertain if I could even set up the scaffold in this position since the three encumbering wires—electricity, phone, and cable—were converging with the building at increasingly less forgiving angles. Kurt Our Painter (and volunteer scaffolding helper) insisted it would fit well underneath the electric cable. I felt much less certain and since I was the guy who would be juggling steel support pieces up there, I didn't really care how confident Kurt felt. Still, I found ample room and managed to stretch the cable and phone lines around the end pieces, even providing for places for the planks to rest without encumbrance.

The set up seemed superior to the prior one, where we'd neglected to set a board beneath one corner and my movement up top had managed to augur one corner almost a foot into the flowerbed's dirt, leaving the structure leaning up against the house, even leaving a divot. I'd crawled back up after disassembling the top tier to touch up the wound with a little fresh paint. The new placement was not quite level, either, and my first sense was that it had a touch too much play in it. I was surfing up top, riding a fairly significant wobble with my every movement. Kurt said we'd level that leg after I'd finished assembling the structure, when I could help lift that corner, which meant that I would have to just swallow hard and put the thing together with it wobbling a little wildly beneath me. I could do that, and did.

I'm not nearly the big chicken I was the first time we set this stuff up. Then, I overthought the process and amplified the significance. After all, the top tier's only about eighteen feet above the ground, hardly near the stratosphere, still, the ground seems awfully far when I'm up there, and it takes me a day or two of serious negotiation to talk myself back up on top to get on with the repainting. I suppose that I spend that time recalculating whatever I learned the last times up. This time, though, that damned electric wire's closer. I'll be dancing around it, straddling it while stretching to reach the soffit edge. I will have to become a real contortionist, a Tai Chi master, holding poses, shadowboxing with myself without brushing up against the high voltage. Just thinking about that exhausts me.

I'm surprised at how very different the view seems from this fresh placement. The neighborhood looks completely different. I can see the Blues better from here and I'm closing in on the apricot, which sports lines of green fruit screaming toward ripeness. The window I'll be refinishing here looks to need more preparation than the others I've repainted along this side. About half of this slice of wall is already finished, though, completed to six feet above the pavement and all around that new window, just installed last Fall. I will not be working this slice of wall for more than a scant day or two, depending upon weather and distractions. I realize that I'm almost through with refinishing this wall, the very worst one of all, and a real milestone of progress once it's finished. The next slice will very likely seem completely different, as each slice has, though it will be located just next door to this latest one. This repainting's not a single effort, but at least a dozen significantly different ones.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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