Rendered Fat Content


Nikolai Bogatov: Beekeeper (1875)
"They leave little footprints in the dust …"

A swarm of activity erupts from Our Grand Refurbish as we near completion. Completion still seems like absolute fiction. I cannot yet quite imagine our living room unlined with cardboard and not filled with saw horses, paint smells, and an enormous chop saw. Joel Our Carpenter pulled up to the front in his van yesterday to disgorge yet another load of fine-grained boards destined to become sills and trim for the final fresh window. I was poised on a tall ladder painting highlight trim around the last new window while Kurt Our Painter treated library shelves with conditioner in preparation for staining them. Never before in the long months this effort has dominated, has such a variety of activity bloomed at once. I cannot keep up to supervise. Fortunately, any effort as mature as this one shouldn't need much supervision. It manages itself.

It might be that we could not have possibly kept up had this variety appeared any earlier.
We've captured the rhythm of this effort after months of practice. The first window seemed like an exploration, an inquiry. The fifth felt more like a habit with perfectly predictable pieces, and each of us working independently together in just-in-time fashion, everything finally ready-to-hand, on demand, in command of itself. The weather, which this late into the year might well have been flurries of leaves or snow, brought us springtime temperatures, perfect ambiance between inside and out, a hole in the wall for the window less inconvenience than gift as we stained the library shelves with otherwise overpowering chemicals. Paint dries quickly enough for us to keep abreast of every demand, every emerging need, a miracle in December! A miracle, indeed!

Our Grand Refurbish has become a miracle now. Once notion, then effort, it seems more like second nature now. We're blazing no new trails, but more like paving them. Our roles have become so imbedded now that nobody needs any direction. Assignments emerge from converging materials. Trim lumber shows up and Kurt primes the interior boards while I set up a miniature pop-up paint shoppe out by the garage for finishing exterior ones. Kurt starts staining and I fall into place just behind him, rubbing off the stain he applies. None of us need to try very hard, either. One task ends and another emerges and nothing threatens to overwhelm any of us. We perform well-rehearsed roles. Whatever supply issues haunted us before have all been resolved and nothing blocks our path toward the exit. We work as if we mean it now, as if this is serious business. Our running jokes have become insistent as if to deny the impending distance completion will bring. We're performing the final act of a family at play, final days.

Time, which sometimes dragged eternal through the middle of this effort, when we'd lost connection to whatever came before but could not yet quite imagine an ending, seems to have snapped back into good behavior again. Just enough of it seems present to contain everything remaining, no rush and no drag. This outcome was not the result of careful planning, and was not planned at all. Time, as I noted in earlier posts, does not move in regular rhythms but irregular ones, sometimes showing up short and other times, intolerably long. Sometimes, though, it appears in perfectly tailored threads and fits right in with what one's doing, unobtrusive, helpful, even. Our focus has narrowed to a handful of tasks. We're not waiting for permission, perdition, or supplies. The cats have become so calm around our upsetting clutter that they've taken to sleeping on the folded tarps, complete with stains and smells and sawdust, purring contentedly there. They leave little footprints in the dust and seem to anticipate the end of this effort, the end of us, in our Swarming.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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