Rendered Fat Content


M. C. Escher: Relativity (1953)
"I might find myself more present then but also much less here …"

I refer to my Routine as sacred. I work hard to keep it as sacred as it feels, though it's almost entirely composed of distinctly secular activities. I'm no monk, but I do spend the majority of my time alone. Early mornings, I've grown accustomed to padding around this place in darkness, for I have no need to turn on lights. I've traversed these rooms enough that my muscle memory mostly sees my pathways for me, no real need to supplement that sixth sense. The cats see fine in near total darkness, so they seem unimpressed with my prowess. I guess I impress myself, though. I exhibit evidence that I'm a townie here, I have enough history to seem prescient to myself. I know which drawer holds whatever kitchen utensil I might need. I might even inhabit what some would deride as a rut, but it's MY rut and I find living in it pleasing.

The impending HeadingHomeward will exchange this reliable old milk cow of a Routine for the equivalent of unproven magic beans.
I expect my muscle memory to atrophy, and it aches in dreading anticipation. My auto-pilot will furlough while learning a fresh route. As a dedicated old dog now, I rarely warmly anticipate learning any new trick and I dread forfeiting any I've already mastered. My sense of place feels threatened. There was a time when my soul knew every cubic centimeter of the place we intend to move into. I recall, though not warmly, the months of isolation after leaving, when my muscle memory found no medium within which to demonstrate its most favored trick. I spent that time stumbling in the dark, resorting to turning on lights and semi-frantically searching for a proper spoon. I learned, not soon but much more slowly, and one day replaced my old programming with a localized upgrade. Each subsequent move sparked a similar sense of displacement. Upgrades inevitably degrade something.

I feel as though I've entered short time, a period where I can only nostalgically exhibit my well-adapted muscle memory. I know I'll soon be sort of struck blind for a time again, so I'm soaking up all this status quo I can absorb. My Routine seems even more sacred now as it faces impending irrelevance. Irrelevance seems to be what life will ultimate present me. Not just to my curious muscle memories, but to everything I do. Irrelevance is the entropy I've been fleeing from since I took my first step. My once masteries will certainly move into historical curiosities before evaporating, most probably before I leave. I will very likely witness my own ultimate irrelevancy, and like my muscle memory, an integral part of me will thereafter be gone. Long time coming, longer time gone.

The Muse's sense of urgency to get started remodeling conflicts with my deep sense for preserving this wasting present while it lasts. Each disruption, even the minor ones, shifts the topography. Not just the one I need for my muscle memory to guide me, but also the memory I'll carry with me as we leave. The place will utterly change from the one we grew to know so pre-consciously into some hazier impression. By the time we leave, the place that so humbly held my sacred Routines will have already vacated before us, extending the time I'll spend between routines. I'll be making it up as I move through those interim spaces, never fully at ease, watchful and overly aware. That part of me that just knows already, without needing to derive any orientation, will take a hesitant and forced vacation. I might find myself more present then but also much less here, or anywhere for a time. I'm moved to wonder if this superpower will ever return.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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