Rendered Fat Content


The Dance, Henri Matisse, 1910
"On brothers, sisters, and friends."

I firmly believe that we live in communion with others, not so much isolated beings but interconnected ones. What passes for individuality describes slight variations on a very common theme, and could not exist at all were it not for our fellows surrounding us, yet I spend much of my time alone, in at least the convincing appearance of hermit-like isolation. I know my neighbors to nod to. I know librarians, store clerks, and shopkeepers more intimately than I know anyone else living close to me. I pretty much keep to myself, or did until The GrandOtter moved in a few weeks ago and before Max and Molly, our kitten siblings, took up residence a few weeks before that. I maintain a long list of social media friends, many of whom I know more about than I know about my siblings. I see The Muse mornings, evenings, and most weekends, but we keep different daily schedules which leaves me plenty of 'alone time,' which might not count as time at all.

I've seen more close friends on this now ten day toodle through The Great American Southwest than I usually see in many, many months.
I only rarely ever see them, yet when I stepped across their thresholds, time seemed to become irrelevant. I became who I sometimes seem to only very infrequently become anymore, a man with an authentic history present before me. We remembered when together. We came current, filling in insignificant gaps which continued a pre-existing condition in some considerable earnest. I could recognize that self I once experienced so often that I never really felt as though I was experiencing anything very unusual or unique. I'd meet myself sitting across from me there.

Where did that time disappear to? I hardly believe in time anymore. It doesn't seem to flow, but sits statically, thumbing his nose at me. I might exist in humbled hibernation waiting for a time where what seems to be mine comes into focus again. I built a genuine community around me, a life defined by association, an existence extending far beyond my meager resources. I was up to something audacious then, pursuing ends only possible with extensible means. I believed that I was authentically on to something, too, something beyond any superficial me and you, alive within Timelessnesses. Time slipped by without the benefit of my company as I slipped by without the accompanying necessity of company. Divorces and dismemberments fragmented relationships, but a few held true. Distance complicated connecting, but the original connection remained. Occasional telephone calls hardly compensated. A Christmas Letter reminded me, the great and abiding forgetter. I was never really alone.

I never was a joiner, but nonetheless a connector. I think better in conversation than I ever even imagine alone. I sometimes wonder when peering into my shaving mirror, just where I've gone . My world feels narrow and cold and I rarely feel very bold anymore. I watch nobody's back these days and I cannot seem to see backwards or forwards or even the here and now. I step back into my existence with infrequent irregularity as if taking short breaks from a great interruption of an essential regularity. I think I see myself there, suddenly not so alone anymore, quietly triangulating back into the familiar. I am myself there, too long scared to reconnect, as if terrified to discover that I am because I'm not alone and not because I ever was independent or adequate or even there before.

I stuff my daily missives into bottles and set them adrift in lieu of actually sitting down with you so that there might be a me and so that you might be a you again, too, alive within communion. My self-reliance stands as an ignoble contradiction, unworthy of the paper I printed it upon. There never was anyone without others, nor others without my own presence here. My extended absences leave more than The Villa behind. They leave me quite literally blind to possibilities and blinded by the absence of other pairs of eyes, those capable of surprising me as mine remain capable of surprising theirs. There is no self in isolation, for self serves as a conflation of identity, which necessarily remains a collective entity whatever else occurs. I defer to a greater authority than myself, to a broader constituency than any 'little old me,' for I firmly believe that we only live in communion with others, brothers, sisters, and friends.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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