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France, Lyon(?), early 16th century: Time (From Chateau de Chaumont Set) (1512–15)

"… usually expecting the unexpected …"

Occasionally, I'll decide to write about a topic only to discover that I'd already written a piece with that same title. As you doubtless noticed, I make up a fair number of my story titles by fiddling with otherwise serviceable words, trying to better fit them to my purpose. My blog software keeps me honest by disallowing duplicate titles, complicating my life if I inadvertently try to slip one by, requiring some messy searching and deleting to correct the oversight. This morning, I innocently attempted to write a story about
Suddenlies, only to discover that I'd already covered that topic in a post from five years ago. I considered just reporting that story under the Againing banner, given that I've chosen repeating as my overriding notion this quarter. Then I decided that the very fact that this title came up twice might suggest that I'm dealing with a universal experience, a pattern notable for its subtle repetition, that I had just then been Suddenlied again.

As I said in the earlier story, things tend to continue unchanged until some suddenly appears.
I swear I'm just as surprised every time as any peek-abooed infant. Shocked then, I clumsily respond. It might take me a long time to react to the shifted context. So surprised at having snagged that hot grounder, I might in that moment forget that I should flip the ball to the shortstop so he can feed it into a double play. I stand astounded instead while that essential one thousandths of a second ticks by, Suddenlied.

Most of my surprises hardly qualify as even half that dramatic, yet I remain just as unprepared as if on stage with everybody watching. My transitions remain remarkably erratic. I might have spent half the prior month praying to be done only to suddenly find that beleaguered chapter over with me unprepared for the next one. I will probably spend a few days trying to find my sea legs, wobbly beneath the mast and sail, moving in some fresh direction. I suspect that there's really no adequate replacement for any sincere lack of preparation. The universe progresses in just such fits and starts. Damn the transitions, full speed ahead!

I might at times come to consider myself a knight though I understand at heart that I'm much more likely a pawn. I am not ever engaged in any truly strategic maneuver. My meager contributions will not very likely encourage any dramatic conclusions. The fate of no nation will ever fall into my hands. I'm just a journeyman, neither mentor nor master, struggling to pay close enough attention. I will likely not see any next trend coming. I'll shift well behind the crest of any wave. I am too occupied reacting to properly anticipate. I notice stuff mostly after it's already passed. On the positive side of this equation, I experience almost continuous surprise, shifts and swerves I always fail to see coming. I contend that the finest estimates are always produced in retrospect, never beforehand. If I want to foresee what's coming next, I can reasonably expect another Suddenlied experience. Does this perspective mean that I'm usually expecting the unexpected?

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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