Rendered Fat Content


Samuel Dirksz van Hoogstraten: View of a Corridor (1662)
"Let the record show that on this last day of summer, I started leaning in again."

The Muse and I live near the top of a minor mountain in a region filled with more significant ones. Ours hardly merits mentioning, but still our elevation often leaves us feeling as if we're floating above much of the rest of creation, like Greek gods or something. We nevertheless choose to live humbly here, something I believe we'd do whatever our circumstance, and we've actually lived even more humbly before, accepting waning as another part of an apparently never-ending cycle of increase and decrease, like respiration. 'As I live and breathe' translates into 'sometimes we give and sometimes we receive', with net increase or decrease more a matter of accounting periods than of any superiority or shortcoming. We do our work, grateful for having it, and too often temporarily forget the sublime beneficence of both possessing it as well as often feeling utterly possessed by it, for it fails to consume us, but seems instead insistently intent upon continually enriching us, even when it makes us no money. Living without purpose could only be worse for everybody.

That said, we're both feeling bled dry here on this final partial day of summer.
Dog months of isolation have left her, the admitted raving extrovert, feeling severely depleted. Months, too, attending to TheGrandOtter, who has been sharing our space here since last December, have stretched our patience as thin as pounded prosciutto. She's now recovered enough to insist upon moving on, a loss and a gain in one. I've spent the period attempting to inhabit the NowHere, somewhat successfully, as any sincere attempt might yield. We leave later this morning for a few day's respite higher up into the Rockies, where we'll rendezvous with dearest old friends and get into fresh mischief together, a retreat in the interest of returning rested and refreshed. The world continues to spin, a tad wobbly by my estimation, but gravity seems to be working overtime and it appears that levity has taken vacation, hopefully only temporarily. Everything seems too damned serious now. We need a comedian on stage and for the foreseeable duration.

I confess to feeling especially blessed right now in this life, if this admission doesn't step over some line of comportment. Each morning, I feel freshly surrounded by people peeking in on my doings. Our PureSchmaltz Facebook Group (because it's a group, it belongs to each and all of us) has revitalized my daily writing practice, formerly a hit-or-miss pass into semi-darkness, with interested audience members often unable to access what I'd post thanks to the damned Facebook algorithm. Now we're off in our own corner, all two hundred forty-six of us, sharing fresh experiences. I feel a fresh rush of satisfaction each time I scroll through the list of who's peeking in each day, and fondly remember how we happened to come into contact here. For many, we've known each other for years. Others accepted an essentially blind invitation and lingered. For me, our engagement constitutes the very best kind of play. Imagine it! Each day, I say something and it sets up a resonance that echoes out and into the ages. By the end of each quarter, like today, I've accumulated another book-length construction which might eventually see another life in another form. How could I not absolutely revere each and every one of you here with me? You gift me daily!

After a quarter of staying NowHere, I, like TheOtter, feel moved to move on. Don't worry, I'm, in one way, staying right here on the accustomed channel, but I am changing the programming. We seem to be living through a dark time, one which seems continually threatening. The Damned Pandemic's plenty bad enough all by itself, but kookie armed, self-described militias have started roaming certain streets, looking to beat the crap out of law-abiding citizens and vilifying fully lawful activities. We have a madman in the White House who seems determined to stay, though his history strongly suggests that he'll lose bigger than he could possibly imagine, if only because he almost always has. Fires rage around us, blowing smoke and holding up unflattering mirrors. We know too well what's NowHere. We need more understanding of What's Next!

I don't believe we need to know anything for sure beforehand except that we'll stick together rather than fragment apart. Whatever happens with The Supreme Court, we must believe we'll be fine. Should we face even more drastic times, faith in something as simple as lunar action, waxing and waning, twice daily tides, might serve to reassure us. We've known increase before and felt the humiliating blows of authentic decrease, and we still survived to experience the respite of increase again. None of any of this was ever promised as permanent and anyone still believing in permanent solutions has problems nobody can fix other than themselves. I am here because of the community I find here. You reassure me daily, as I fully intend to reassure you. We're not crazy, simply confused. We're not losers, however much we might feel we're losing. The wheel's still turning. Something reassuring's bound to appear, even here, eventually.

My next series hopes to animate aspiration, that God-given motivation pulling us onward. I ache to peek over the next horizon, even though I know almost for certain that another ache will overtake me there, encouraging me to continue wondering WhatNext?. I expect no respite from this, no vacation taken higher up into the mountains, but just a different orientation. Humans possess the marvelous capacity to stretch ourselves over any horizon. I hear you when you council that most of these extensions eventually prove to have been delusional, but sanity's not the issue at hand. Where we land might well rely upon how well we anticipate. Ducking and covering destines us to staying right where we were. Even pretending to be busy peeking over a rainbow unavoidably projects us somewhere else. Somewhere else carries potential for better than whatever we've been experiencing here. I hope to create some fiction useful for such transportation. Please, please be patient with me, for I can't yet see with any clarity where any of this might lead. Let the record show that on this last day of summer, I started leaning in again. Join me, please. Thank you!

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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