Splatt!



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"… the absolute absurdity of everything comes to a head"

The morning after the welcoming Spring snowstorm found us, my son, grandson, and I, investigating along Clear Creek, a stream lined with tall cottonwoods which were quietly dropping snow from their branches in a process we immediately labeled Splatting. Standing beneath any of these behemoths would shortly give us reason to giggle, as a branchful of wet snow might slap the side of someone face or plop onto the crown of my Borsalino. Wearing a hat seemed a definite advantage because our goal was not to avoid any Splatt!, but to receive one, even many. We plotted where might constitute the most likely place for a Splatt!, then test our theory before moving on to even splattier places.

We're dangerous, the three of us, when we get together.
Anything can turn into high entertainment. Anything at all. The language burbles out of us, immediately labeling activities that nobody ever labeled before. The result seems to be a string of very personal experiences and absolutely ridiculous tales. We'd cut up leftover macaroni and placed it in a bowl on the deck this morning where the magpies quickly found it. But the magpies played shy while the grandson and I sat just on the other side of the sliding glass door. They'd land on the railing then, after sizing up the situation, flee off to confer, then return to see if the situation had changed. We'd quickly dubbed their breakfast Magpie Macaroni but they wouldn't bite until we turned our heads. One moment's distraction and the meal was gone, leaving only furtive magpie tracks in the snow. Magpies are burglers and simply will not perform on any stage before any audience, not even for my grandson and I, but will gladly snatch anything left even momentarily unguarded.

We move through this world like trolling gangsters, not trolling for trouble but for the interesting. We saw a cottonwood trunk steaming in the morning sun, wet snow going directly from frozen to gas. The roads, too, started steaming shortly thereafter. The whole morning presented one after another small wonder, tiny observables, each remarkable for their own sake. When we're out trolling, anything might become a wonder and many things do. I suspect that a part of this effect comes from the presence of the grandson, for we're rarely together and so have not become complacent about each other's presence. My son, too, hardly ever sees me and is at that point in his life when he has plenty to cope with without dad hovering nearby. Only a thousand miles usually separate us, but this week he's in the same room.

I think we visit family for the same reason the three of us stood under snow shedding cottonwoods, for the Splatt!, the surprising though perfectly expectable revelations that jangle awareness just ever so delightfully. These can only occur while in proximity and cannot be properly described to anyone not present in the moment a Splatt! occurs, as I'm doubtless failing to do now. The invented words and phrases, the unconstrained giggling, the absolute absurdity of everything comes to a head and we revel together. Splatt!

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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