ThinAir

ThinAir
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres: The Dream of Ossian (Ossians' Traum) (1813)

"Maybe this place exists solely as refuge …"


The atmosphere has seemed memorably thick over the last few weeks. Wildfires raging across The West pushed smoke around the world, blocking some people's sun through the end of summer and into an uneasy autumn. Our horizons have flamed through successive sunrises and sunsets while every exposed surface accumulated an ashy grit. Politics, too, have densified our social atmosphere, with fear sweat creating a persistent ground fog of dread as a mortally weakened President throws distracting tantrums, spewing idle threats. The Damned Pandemic continued playing off our tenacious innumeracy, a flickering flame quietly spreading through virgin timbre, our ears deafened by disbelief. This time will be recorded as neither the best nor the worst of times, but it might well be remembered as a crime wave, with thieves weakening every institution and corruption seemingly corroding everything it touches, and touching pretty nearly everything. The future from here appears cloudy with the certainty of torrential rains, a threatening Old Testament scenario.

The Muse and I feel fortunate to have found Pilgrimage calling us up and out of our metastasizing daily routines into ThinAir, where we can't figure out how to make the television work.
We discovered that we didn't care to access whatever might have been on offer there, for we temporarily inhabit a place where books fill the hours where dismay formerly prevailed. A walk to Main Street consumes the early afternoon and, in this town, everybody spaces and wears their mask without hassle or controversy. Old friends spark easy conversation, grounded relationships invulnerable to time's passage. Shoulder season in a ski town with naked slopes aflame in Aspen color rather than threatening fire provides respite and recovery. We can feel our reality reconfiguring, leaving us wondering what we found so threatening before. Events more than surrounded us there, they shoved their way inside us, displacing something significant. A certain inner serenity fled before the smoke and flame of dire threats repeated again and again and again and again. Old friends heal us.

We might be hiding out here, successfully fooling ourselves that we might still enjoy the company of dear old friends in a place where anonymity thrives. This condo, our temporary home, features the usual tin cookware and all the comforts of the absence of accustomed ease. The chairs improperly support me. The bedroom sleeps like a smothering sarcophagus, yielding more restlessness than rest. Foxes visit us, trotting by with wide grinning faces, maybe mocking us. We improvise, understanding that our tenure here will most certainly be short. We will not even attempt to sink any roots. Our superficial presence seems just as thin as the ThinAir, somewhere short of suffocation but clearly inadequate for longer-term respiration. We breathe deeply without much effect. Cooking times almost double. We recognize that we've escaped into an unsustainable bubble, but troubles smother easily here and we can see more than naked slopes and Aspens. Mornings deeply chill and afternoons more than compensate for that inconvenience, sun dappling fallen leaves which smell so damned promising. Breckenridge seems better without the skiers, more real somehow in shoulder season.

The air back home will breathe like cream for the first few days after we return. This shoulder season will slump back into the regular progression of time. ThinAir somehow suspends time. People age more slowly up here. Events run out of breath before they can overtake and distress. Water actually flows consistently downhill, singing every inch of the way, coming from who knows where further up into even thinner air. Before snow falls to cover surface imperfections, the mountains seem sullen and indifferent, scaly elephant skin set against ThinAir. Texans escape here, fleeing their air, the texture of corduroy, in favor of silken breezes. Maybe this place exists solely as refuge, not as anyone's permanent home. What passes for soil's way too thin and the growing season too short to support life as anyone has ever known it anywhere else. ThinAir encourages short visits, only respites ever need apply. Rocky Mountain highs produce quick, even welcome, goodbyes.
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This being Friday, I find it's time to recount the receding week:

My writing week began with me expecting some unanticipatable arriving in
Impendings. I could sense something stalking me, but could not for the life of me quite put a bead on whatever was coming. The week ends with me somewhere, as predicted, I had not anticipated, a curious form of prediction, indeed.

I recounted an evening out with The Muse in
DateNight, where supper out ended up being supper in. This piece proved the most popular of the week.

I continued what I'd started anticipating, reminding myself that whatever might be ending would most certainly escort in another new beginning in
BegendingsAgain.

I came to deeply question the direness of our current situation in
Dire, recalling that I've never lived without the shadow of some impending complication, yet somehow survived each and every one of them.

The Equinox finally came and I caught myself transitioning from NowHere into WhatNext, choosing to
lean into whatever's next in Viewing.

The Muse and I next caught ourselves engaging in not a getaway or an escape, but in blessed
Pilgrimage intended to restore our summer-baked shells.

I ended my writing week making the small but significant distinction between information and definition in
MisDisInformation. I am not what I purport myself to be, for that description can only serve as information about me, and not as any definitive replication of who I am.

As a bonus posting this week, I shared the result of the prior few weeks spent reworking summer 2018's writings into a finished manuscript in the form of
TheGoldenBlurb, my first attempt to briefly describe Cluelessness - A Book of Mirrors to prospective audiences. I'm still accepting reader comments to better inform my final draft.

Finally, thank you most sincerely for accompanying The Muse and I through our travails and travels. We reportedly have a regular life left to return to after this Pilgrimage concludes and I understand that our concerns might not amount to much more than a hill of beans when compared to those hounding you. I hope that my stories might help you make some deeper sense of your own stories unfolding in parallel. We're here together or nowhere at all. What Next?

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved








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