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Maxfield Parrish: The Lantern Bearers (1908)

"The philosopher's wary."

I have my heart set on a blue front door. Kurt Our Philosophical Painter reappears in my stories this week as he returns to finish the door we left undone in deference to Winter as we otherwise completed our Grand Refurbish. I'd intended to replace the rickety front screed door, thereby making it possible to secure the front even with the door removed, and that screen was replaced earlier this month. I peeked out my office window to see a crew of two exit their truck and head for the porch. I opened the door before they'd knocked and welcomed their presence. The new screen was fully installed less than an hour later. I didn't help much because they'd caught me immersed in my PhilosopherWork so I wasn't dressed for workman work. I find myself continually shifting gears between one persona and the other. Which am I really? Neither and both.

The philosopher in me prefers to work in slippers.
He mostly labors with his fingers. He relies upon his eyes to both ferret out new concepts and to verify whatever he's trying to write. His work's less physical than temperamental, tenaciously context dependent. If the spirit's not propelling him, he will not be moving. Given spirit, nothing's the limit.

The workman in me seems picky. He spends the front part of every workday setting up his work space, everything simply must be in its place. He learned long ago that the time to go searching for a tool is always well before its needed. From the top of the scaffold, only what was foretold proves possible. He faunches at his responsibilities and never takes them lightly. He understands that he holds much in his hands. Sloppy work creates regretted history, and there's no sadder legacy for any workman like me to leave behind him. He must engage absolutely grudge free lest his emotional content degrade his contribution. He must at least try to be exacting.

Of course the neither part of my real persona finds me struggling to fully satisfy either intention. I suit up and attempt to play my part. Some days I can make a convincing workman, others a spot-on philosopher, never simultaneously both and I always struggle with the transitions. I'm apt to shuffle my feet when beginning, or I should say when I'm attempting to begin. I always seem most aware of what I'm leaving rather than what I'm opening. I don't do much philosophizing when I'm wearing my overalls. I do not know why.

I have my heart set on a blue front door. Kurt Our Painter heartily agrees and even suggested a specific color, Phthalo Blue, a hue favored by Maxfield Parrish in his etherial paintings. I think the color period appropriate, for The Villa was built during the peak of his long career. The Muse holds different intentions. She subscribes to the Feng Shui notion that a west-facing front door simply must be an Earth color, and under no conditions a water one, of which even an iridescent blue apparently qualifies. Far be it from this workman to offend the design sensibilities of an ancient Chinese decorator. I've seen the power proper Feng Shui imparts, or at least I've had The Muse explain to me how it works. I suppose that should we somehow offend those gods that we might spark a pox upon our house such that our long lucky streak might suddenly end, all because of a blue door. Our Career Corner might wither and our Prosperity Corner might go bankrupt again. The workman in me needs a blue front door. The philosopher's wary.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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