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Jean Metzinger: Landscape (Marine, Composition Cubiste) (1912)

" … what I imagine to be their essence."

I've been noticing that the range of my Reconning radar has been Narrowing since The Muse and I returned from exile. On exile, I maintained awareness of more than just my immediate vicinity, but also of the goings on 'back home.' Back home, I do not reciprocate my interest. I doubt that I'll ever return to Colorado's Front Range. I think of it as a place we holed up in for a few years before repatriation. Now home, I've lost interest in that place, which never felt terribly hospitable or home-like, anyway. I never held more than a tactical interest in the local politics since I planned no future or legacy there. It's now become a good riddance for me.

Before exile, The Muse and I roamed a wide area.
We might, back then, on any given week, find ourselves on an early morning flight to New York City, where we'd spend the week working and playing, living as if we lived there, visiting favorite places, playing Broadway Roulette, where we'd show up at the Times Square discount ticket booth, see what was on offer that evening, and a half hour later, seat ourselves in a theater. After, we'd grab a cab down to the Village for a late supper in an old favorite bistro before hopping the subway back to our temporary digs. We might be in The Bay Area the following week, or Minneapolis, or Cleveland, each place a temporary home away from home where we had work, friends, and favorite places.

The exile changed our lifestyle. It brought a Narrowing of focus. We lost our business. No longer consulting, we no longer worked long distances. Our location changed but our range tightened into closer to home. We might roam out into the countryside for a Sunday drive, but we rarely flew further afield. The Muse continued business traveling, almost always solo, and even those trips tended to be between the same two locations. There's nothing in any way exotic about checking into the same hotel as the last trip again and again and again. That destination tends to become just a slightly extended local, further Narrowing range again.

I more tightly plan an excursion across town now than I used to plan a transcontinental trip. I try to stack up errands such that I won't have to make a repeat trip later in the day, even though the destination's no more than ten minutes away. The Damned Pandemic helped entrain my expectations, to learn that I could not just up and flee somewhere for a diversion, that I was truly stuck at home. It encouraged me to learn how to make the best of it, to find a universe adequately represented in a single room, in a single focus. My universe became tighter, largely within my own arm's reach.

I do not expect this universe I inhabit to snap back into its once-upon-a-time shape. I expect it to continue Narrowing until it reaches ever tighter focuses. My need for distance seems to have been pruned into a need for intimacy now. The same sight out of the same window I lovingly refer to as The Center Of The Universe. How could I grow weary of seeing that every morning and every evening, and every afternoon? I dream some days of returning to roam around Italy again, to visit Orvieto and Montefalco and Assisi, to just walk those streets again, to drink those wines. In its time, perhaps, I imagine, recognizing that it's not necessary, just an option. My horizons have been Narrowing into what I imagine to be their essence.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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