Rendered Fat Content


Suzuki Kiitsuexpan:
Moon and Waves
(First half of the nineteenth century)

" … surveying my small kingdom …"

However subtly this season might start to change, it finishes the job in a swoosh. A mighty wind blows the last complacency aside, and the world turns upside down in a single afternoon. Change seems to resist itself for the longest time before finally caving into its inevitable, unable ever after to recover what it ultimately could no longer retain. It's always been the same. The only question has always been precisely when, a question without anything resembling a reasonable response. TheTurning does not pivot on preciselies but on eventualities. Eventually, inevitably, the change appears, however lengthy the preceding longing might have been.

The Fall term starts as if to set off TheTurning.
It begins when the world remains blistering, and everyone arrives overdressed for the beginning of classes. Long woolen stockings belong in November, but who could wait until then to show off their newest outfits?  The first few days serve as little more than distractions, for nobody's mind seems ready to settle into paying enough attention to even dream of learning anything. The first days of the semester simply must be wasted, but who's to say what's wasted before the end of the term? We learn like we change, with lengthy tussles with denial before perhaps a swoosh of cognition. Nothing here was ever intended to be linear, yet we tend to judge our successes by linear methods.

The transition can seem unnecessarily brutal, with wind-blown dust trying to blow us off the road. The force coming up out of the road cuts feels like a punch. I slow down to avoid driving off the road. Thunder and lightning accompany the transition, and a spare few spits of rain, though not enough for anybody to raise a fuss over. Rains will come later, once the brittle crust along the ending edge of the season has been thoroughly crumbled. Then, the normal flow will resume with Westerlies bringing in waves of precipitation, which this parched landscape will revel in receiving. For now, the transition's just beginning, and one should never anticipate any beginning to very much resemble its ending. It's not Autumn yet, just no longer full Summer. We will enjoy a few spare weeks inhabiting a refreshing middle that will ultimately also refuse to last.

As the present becomes the past, I starkly recall all I missed in the preceding season. My persistent shoulder pain encouraged me to lay low rather than engage, so I watched the season pass as more an observer than a performer. Shoulder recovered and true to fashion, I cannot remember the discomfort that dissuaded my engagement. I see the shabby remnants of all I never managed to finish and feel even further behind than before TheTurning. No new beginning ever breaks very cleanly with its past. Even after the last gasp, the past continues influencing next steps. We separate our lives into stories and stories into chapters more for convenience than for accurate representation. Experience smears across every horizon regardless of how convincingly any transition might argue otherwise.

I wear short sleeves to bed but wake later to fish out longer ones. The open windows admit cool air without mechanical conditioning. It will be almost another year before we'll swelter as we have through recent months. Summer stopped seeming like the freedom season when I took my first summer job. Since then, it's seemed more like a burden, a troublesome traveling companion capable of terrifying and disappointing. It still brings promise but later reneges to threaten my well-being. I warmly anticipate cooler weather and swear I will not miss hiding from the scorching temperatures. The late evenings still turn to velvet, even when I need my longer sleeves to thoroughly enjoy them. I sit on the back deck surveying my small kingdom and feel blessed to experience TheTurning.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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