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The Barque of Dante by Eugène Delacroix, 1822

"Just like last year, but ever so much more so."

I will remember the crossing, not the departure or the arrival, for I found traumatic the transition between the familiar into this different. In my life, I've left so often that leaving barely registers. I slip into my departure coma and simply disappear. Arriving still seems a distant relief. The transition upset me. It might not be over yet, arrival inexplicably delayed without setting expectations for its eventual appearance. A furious easterly insistently nudged the aircraft away from its assigned course. The plane packed with refugees, or so it seemed to me, each uncertain if they should even be traveling under these circumstances and each headed for an unknown destination, regardless of what the flight manifest insisted. I could not imagine the other side and felt as if I might have nibbled off more than I could reasonably swallow this time. This would be no trip from Hell, though, it was an excursion into a greater unknown.

I think it hogwash that we accumulate greater understanding by living. For me, the mystery only deepens.
I might feel as though I've finally (finally!) settled just before an event, often a series of events, uproots me again. Usually, the result seems like so much deck chair rearranging, inconsequential to the underlying mission. Rarely do I slow down to take careful measure of the before or the after, but this passing week, I pulled to a full stop to watch transfixed at what worked around me. Commentators insist that this last week will be long remembered and this time, I whole-heartedly agree. As long as my heart has been removed for recalibration, I might just as well turn agreeable. I think of the events of the past week as The Great Leveling, where high horse riders and lowly crawlers found common ground. The old rules stopped applying and a different consciousness emerged. Those who managed to corner the local toilet paper market ended the week no better off than those reduced to using last week's newspapers.

What was I doing while Rome fell?

Let the record show that I noticed as this latest difference appeared,
DifferentFrom any before. I wondered what next?, what now?.

I tried to
BackUp, recognizing my familiar slipping away, and after seven long weeks exposed, I captured my recent past just before the calamity emerged.

I then reconsidered my latitude for genuine action in
PhreeDumber, wherein I appreciated the constraints defining my latitudes for action just as fresh and unsettling constraints appeared. Could I still feel free after TheGreatLeveling? Would I ever feel emancipated again?

I next described our
Plague. Prince and pauper, poet and potentate aboard the same barque, not on an excursion from Hell, but seemingly descending into it. No fire and brimstone this time, but heavy intimations of mortality suddenly present and unshakable.

I next distracted myself considering how I might measure the British shoreline in
BeggingQuestions, an exercise in both futility and humanity. I caught myself asking questions in ways that might better ensure a reassuring response rather than another freshly opened can of worms. I got worms anyway.

Finally, I finished this consequential writing week
BassingAckwards, reassuring myself that the right and proper way to proceed usually involves wrong and improper-seeming actions. Ninety of my dearest readers observed and participated in my unfolding representations of TheGreatLeveling each day, definitely improving my passage. Thanks!

As of this morning, a predawn featuring driving rain in Tucson's rocky desert, I prepare for a return trip which I understand will not remove me from the thick of anything. I cannot determine from here if my passage has ended or if it might end soon, or if it will ever seem to end this time. I sensed great difference a week ago but I suspect that this great difference still has distance remaining, much more than any two day drive back to Colorado from here. I cannot tell if the latest overnight tempest washed out road I expect to drive over later today or if I might need to back track to make forward progress this trip. This sensation, I suspect, might be what it feels like to find myself truly in the thick of it. By this time next week, I might be quarantined, hibernating just as Spring starts to appear. It will very likely become that kind of year: BassingAckwards, Begging Questions, Plagued, PhreeDumber, BackedUp, and damned DifferentFrom anything I've ever lived through before. Just like last year, but ever so much more so.

I remain delighted to find you here with me, especially now that we're experiencing TheGreatLeveling together.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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