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Dead Man Alley-Winter, Millard Donald Everingham, 1940
" …Nothing to dread but dread itself."

Ennui follows Epiphany like a baby elephant follows its mother, tiny trunk grasping reassuring tail, for this world seems especially forbidding then with redeeming Spring just as far away as it will ever be this year. Self confidence falls to its lowest recorded readings since this time last year as nights infinitesimally shorten and days drag themselves through unremitting self-similarity. The New Year, so promising just a fortnight ago, seems prematurely spoiled, already past its pull date while hardly even begun. Hollows hold snow frozen into alabaster insults, lawns a uniformly unpromising beige again. I dutifully light my luminarias each dusk and retrieve the candles each dawn, attempting to demonstrate the single watt of faith remaining from Christmastime. I maintain my schedule, some days kicking and screaming myself back into the yolk, where considerable pushing and shoving ensues. Each essay breach birthed with the inept assistance of an incompetent and uncaring midwife. Such is mid-January life.

If it would only snow to seal the conviction that there's really no place to go and no reasonable way to get there if there were, but the sky remains indifferent with unpromising clouds and fierce winds pushing backwards toward the East.
In this country, East is past and West, the future. Weather relentlessly pushes toward the past, dragging remnants of a future behind it, depositing small tokens along the way. The High Country collects snow. The Plains, wind. The Front Range accumulates spitty leftovers, snowbanks from earlier beneficence suspended in place until at least April. Ash and Cottonwood twist in uncertain wind.

Last week, the PureSchmaltz Facebook Group received 412 unique page views, setting a fresh low-point since I started counting. Were this group a marketing ploy or a promotional display, I'd confess disappointment, but as I've reported before, the number means nothing. It does not count how many read the content here or measure relative contentment, it's one of those stats that exist in lieu of alternate measurements, a count for count's sake, a presence because of a lack of alternatives, rather like the DreadOfWinter. I count my days perhaps too closely, watching each slip into then back out of my grasp. Last Friday, I wrote about
Timing, where I admitted to a personal arrhythmia which reliably appears this time every year. I responded with an attempt at re-achieving Rhyming and ReasoningAgain, fleeing into reliably safe territory where my p'oms and my thinking reside, reminding myself that neither rely upon repeatable, wholly reasonable processes. I next confessed to a Wariness, but also admitted that while I firmly believe in Archimedean physics, I continue to firmly pull upward on my own bootstraps. Then, feeling as though I might not have quite grown up yet, a common feeling among those of us still learning how to live in an almost new year, I submitted GroanUp as reassurance that no one ever achieves grown up status, but might well mature by the unlikely means of repeatedly groaning in recognition of how they haven't quite mastered this world yet. I next recounted how I some days have to negotiate myself into engaging in this world with NoGoNegation, a perfectly seasonal piece. Finally, I ended the week with a near rant about a recent doctor- less DoctorVisit, where I expressed some dismay over the pseudo-community our health care system encourages but general satisfaction with the care it provides, though nobody seems very likely to ever encounter a doctor in there.

Overall, a fine, generally dissatisfied portrait of a typical mid-January. Better's been dispatched but not yet arrived. Worse seems possible between now and then. I feel left to churn within a certain uncertainty. I acknowledge and accept an inexorability of time. I know I'm moving forward, that we're all moving forward, though confirmation of that fact remains pending. Mid-January's a wholly faith-based initiative which features very little initiative at all and strains the faith. Earlier investments produce little yield yet and posed promises seem unlikely to come to fruition. Mortality bends nearer the Earth without carrying the benefit of any legacy. Your scribbler struggles to maintain his schedule with a foggy purpose, defroster temporarily on the blink. I hope to somewhat clearly demonstrate what this time of life represents to me. The nurse calls late in the afternoon to report that the diagnostic test came back negative and that the insurance company would not cover a repeat performance of warm gel being reassuringly smeared on my belly. One more dread disposed of, though I suspected all along that I really had nothing to dread but the utterly common and completely normal DreadOfWinter: nothing to dread but dread itself.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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