Out

Out
"Would I become a better man once I can tranquilly stand to spend extended isolated time with myself?"

After the fifth sequential snow day, even an experienced meditating monk aches to get Out. He'd trade nirvana for a stroll around even a usually reviled well-heated shopping mall. He might even consent to a Cinnabon® just for the sheer variety it might bring, because he's been further away from Springtime than he remembers ever being and the serene snow seems simply tedious now. Somehow, some way, he's simply got to get away, just Go. What first seemed comforting and close became almost smothering, way too close for even the comfort a warming fire might bring. He'd consent to supper at that little place in the village where the food has always been consistently lousy and the service much worse, where a simple supper won't be served until two full hours after he takes his seat, where only two employees managed to make it to work that shift and the bartender's doing the cooking. Lord knows who's tending bar. That's how far down this latest storm's taken our humble monk.

Others, ordinary folk without the monk's extraordinary ability to discipline themselves, seem mad with bottled up frenzy.
The Hell if the roads are crap. Who cares if we'll never manage to get back up the hill again? We're heading down to the center of town to just browse around in the same familiar shops where we haven't bought anything in years. We'll be refugees from ourselves, desperate to escape out of our selves for even an hour or two. We'll make up a list of all we simply must do just to justify doing anything different. We've poisoned our peace with too much isolation. We just want to be superficial again, nothing special. The contemplative life chewed us up and spit us out. We weary of our own damned company.

The morning dawns like a Thomas Kincaid painting, light glinting everywhere. Pine boughs overloaded with snow pompoms, roads shining with escape route salvation. The larder seems especially empty, down to all the perennially rejected possibilities. It feels like its way past time to restock our supply of essential superficialities. The cat litter reserve threatens to fall below the absolute minimum and replenishing it could become my life's higher purpose. Milk, of course, always needs purchasing. The last of the massive bean pot, the center of our diet all week, warms in a simmering double boiler. I never want to see another bean again. I ache to grill something, but the grill's hip-deep in snow. The neighbor kids bellyflop in the backyard drift, joyfully face-planting in the snow. I just need to go somewhere, anywhere. Out.

The patience I welcomed when the storm began has worn thin. The transcendent stillness which warmed me through the blizzard now chills me. The opportunity to read my way through my stockpiled books seems past, I can no longer bear to look at a printed page. The last banana's turned brown. My usual urge to cook for myself has been winding down. Even the leftovers seem transparent and thin. I want to start all over again as if this latest storm wiped clean my sorry slate leaving a genuine new beginning behind. Perhaps I'll go shopping for a mind, one more resilient this time, one I can better rely upon to deliver me from the cardinal sin of boredom when surrounded by such beauty. Would I become a better man once I can tranquilly stand to spend extended isolated time with myself?

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved








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