Rendered Fat Content


Thomas Degeorge: Death of Archimedes (1815)
" … even eternity seems an endlessly moving target."

The sure and certain sign of Fall's victory over the Summer season comes when I finally accept that it's time to disassemble the deck garden. Lovingly created over a long June weekend, it can only last so long before every pot and planter will need emptying or risk shattering in the impending cold. Shelves return to the master bedroom to hold part of The Muse's extensive African Violet collection, their usual over-winter occupation. Lingering petunias pulled and packaged as garbage. Dahlia bulbs recovered for storage in a paper bag with peat until next Spring. Everything's got to go. Snow's predicted a few days from now and so it seems a great Undoing's required, though undoing implies more of a cycle than the effort actually entails. There will be no resurrection of either these plants or this garden, for next year, next Spring, we'll be cultivating different soil in a different place, so I do not need to carefully preserve the potting soil for reuse next year. We will not pack and ship the soil along with us, so I refresh the beleaguered flower beds with it. The yard looks fresh and ready for more than the six month snow bank soon to overtake it.

Hope always springs for me each autumn that there might actually be an Undoing, though there's only even a moving on involved.
The fresh scrapes and pot circles on my previously freshly stained deck might be stained over, but they will never be undone. The cycles we experience seem more projections than actual companions, metaphors intended to reassure us, perhaps, that we've been through this territory before when we never were and never could have been. We're on the pointy end of a possible progression, or maybe an infinite regression with entropy in charge. I take some heart in the sure and certain, though utterly false, understanding that I can sense what's coming next. But last year seemed so different, as did the year before, and next year seems only certain to propel us ever further away from here.

It happens that I finally catch the rhythm of each season just as that season's passing. It takes me some time to discover the rhythms and rhymes of each one such that I can cleanly navigate my way within. Just as I've instilled these reassuring routines, though, another Undoing comes and I'm challenged to move on. I could not possibly continue pretending that the snowstorm's not coming and I'd be worth nothing if I did not engage myself in a day or two or three of concerted preparing, engineering another great Undoing. I grow increasingly heartless as I progress. What last week I simply could not (yet) forfeit, I've become more pragmatic since. That fuchsia, the most successful one we've ever had here, had grown dehydrated over the final week, and would only further degrade if brought inside. It must go, so I dispatch it with the gardener's equivalent of a humane slice across the throat, then roots and all, leaving an empty pot and another spot of high quality potting soil atop the cherty native so-called soil. There's no disgrace in euthanizing a garden once it's outlived it's viability. I quickly dispatch everything except that rose and the rosemary. Those must move inside.

The place seems stripped and scrubbed once the freshly washed pots and planters are stacked beneath the deck. I found a place for everything again while the compressor blew out the drip irrigation system. The kittens think I've laid out a kind of kitty heaven, with the most friable possible soil enticing them to easily excavate endless holes for them to poop and potty into. They wander the vacant deck looking for missing landmarks, that secret hidden corner beneath the hibiscus where they fancied nobody could spot their tails whipping and the spot between overflowing petunia planters where they could curl up for some shady snoozing. They're soon off to excavate another dry well needing urgent filling, this latest Undoing settling in even for them. Not even this long day spent dispatching and pruning will ever return again. An ominous cloud, crude and roiling—terrifying, catches my eye as I grill the supper pork chop. I call The Muse up to share the experience and she declares it wildfire smoke from The Troublesome Fire, eighty five road miles up into The Rocky Mountain National Forest, Undoing primordial scenery. A longer cycle than my lifetime might manage to undo that greater Undoing, though even eternity seems an endlessly moving target.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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