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Jean Antoine Linck: Study of Weeds (1800-1850)

" … more like who I was when I started …"

I feel most impressed with the utter Relentlessness of this universe, where nothing, it seems, succeeds like excess. Particularly in this season, Summer, where I find myself up most mornings, dragging hoses, watering. Weeds which stand outside the watered perimeter thrive. I have no idea what they survive on, for the ground cracks and presents as distinctly unpromising, yet there's always something adapted to even the most wanting place. Give a patch of clover an inch and it will at least attempt to overgrow the whole lawn, growing stronger, shrugging off weed killer, multiplying before exponentiating with abandon. Each plant, each species, seems to lack a governor and quite naturally, Relentlessly, seeks dominion.

I speak emphatically about community, about giving and sharing, but our role models seem indifferent to such.
They are exclusively in it for themselves, for the survival of themselves rather than of the fittest. In practice, fitness seems to contribute little, for an ounce of Relentlessness seems capable of completely outpacing an equal ounce of fitness. What once seemed perfectly suited comes to seem more out-dated, outmoded, after the Relentless newcomer passes through.

I behave as if Relentlessness were a skill to be learned like patience or discipline, but I suspect that it's more likely inborn and common as dirt, universal. I think that giving up might qualify as the rarer experience, one almost inhuman, anti-matter in substance, for our Relentlessness seems perhaps our defining trait, as if we simply could not possibly be if we were not pursuing at least somewhat Relentlessly, whatever that pursuit might be. The self seems by far the most insistent. Even with all the focus upon self-improvement and change, we see most people ultimately achieving just about what they started with, often after taking a few early turns toward an inauthenticity which later turned out to seem like serious mistakes. A few subsequent years of relentless struggle might land them back to close where they started, wiser for the detour but little different, back on course thanks to their own Relentlessness, thank heavens.

In my relative youth, I sought congruence, though due to my inexperience, I pursued it incongruently. It took me a very long time to even recognize the paradox and to loosen up my grasp, to let congruence happen as it could never have been forced. I was never once cursed with my ignorance, but more probably blessed with it, for learning might be sacred and only ignorance could properly focus any education, the Relentlessness of wisdom. At some point, I suspect, that my demise's Relentlessness will finally succeed. It has tirelessly pursued me since before I was born and I have somehow so far managed to avoid its icy grasp. It never once rested. It never blinked, and yet I have so far dominated. I know this race isn't quite over. More rounds are coming. May I live them more like the clover than like the lawn, more like who I was when I started than who I tried to become.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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