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" … a fool's mission, but nonetheless our only mission now."

Time slows rapidly as the end of any project nears. Gravity seems to work harder and even the simplest task takes multiples more time than expected, as if the project was trying to deflect completion. Supplies go missing. Backlogs shrink but only under ever increasing effort. Momentum stalls and a different physics takes over, one not subject to familiar universal laws. Mastery reverts into apparent naivety again. Almost any effort utterly exhausts. The tiniest task takes forever to get started and even longer to clean up after. Done hovers just out of reach, chuckling malevolently. I put my head down and continue moving forward against obviously insurmountable odds.

We could just declare the whole thing finished as it is and most would never notice the absent final polishing, but we would.
We will fall short, or perhaps orthogonal to the original intentions, thank heavens. We traded in the original vision weeks ago in favor of a more felt sense, something we could smell but never describe. We moved in curious synchrony then, though those less connected to the enterprise must have thought that we'd lost our minds. We didn't mind then and still don't mind. The final embellishments would have been utterly unnecessary had we planned better, as if better planning could have at any time been possible. The most predictive plans always emerge after the project ends, emerging from panoramic rear view mirrors lubricated by a few beers. Nearing the end, we're looking for a scrap of paper upon which to write down the last few imperatives lest we forget in our newly found innocence. We became fools for this damned project and we joyfully drool.

We're finally through the 'arrive late, leave early' stage of the effort and entering its certain demise. We rather bravely face the end while the end holds our progress at bay, palm to our forehead like a taunting bully. We dig in and shove like linebackers charging a recalcitrant line. Our spikes churn up more mud than progress. We dig deeper. The same muscles that so easily moved us into the uncertain future fail us once the future becomes a virtual certainty. We could, I suppose, 'let go and let come,' but we're pushing and shoving our way into the inevitable anyway.

Yesterday, as I returned from yet another 'quick' excursion to fetch another necessary something, I imagined that I saw the very car I was driving parked in its usual place across the street from the home we've been performing surgery on for nearly a quarter of the year so far. I thought I saw myself sitting behind the wheel of that doppleganger GrandAm, eyeing the Villa Vatta with a wistful expression covering my shaded face. I felt embarrassed that I'd happened upon myself in such apparently sad reflection, like I'd barged in on a moment so deeply personal that to witness the scene amounted to a sin or a crime, a grave infraction. I imagined myself simply passing by my other self parked there, circling the block in hopes of resetting the flow of time which I'd apparently somehow disrupted. I swore to never disclose this little mistake, this wrinkled accident that brought me back upon myself. The experience felt familiar, though uncommonly strange.

I figure that time's probably just as confused as I feel now. Weeks of focused effort forges a timeless familiarity. Facing the reemergence of time feels like switching track gauges. The whole undercarriage needs retooling to continue moving forward, accustomed wheels need discarding, reliable patterns suddenly irrelevant, skills developed at considerable personal cost going dormant again. The project to end the project seems recursive, asymptotic, unlikely to result in any there. We have only here with which to forge any alternative there, and the here tool set seems uncommonly irrelevant. We're moving mountains with chopsticks now, a fool's mission, but nonetheless our only mission now.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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