Rendered Fat Content


Jules Tavernier: 'Sunrise Over Diamond Head' (1888)
"Life sure seems foggy this morning."

Some days I seem incapable of accomplishing anything. The following day, I might notice a definite Lightening as whatever weight encumbered me evaporates. I suppose that this most curious property isn't exclusive to me. Perhaps it's tied to some circadian emotional thing. Lincoln recalled that some days a black dog would visit him and lay him low, then a certain Lightening would overwhelm the gloom to reopen possibilities denied him just the day before. These visits remained unpredictable, never foreseen. On any given day he might be fully capable or essentially incapacitated, he never knew beforehand. Him being famous and all, I guess that his swings might carry more weight than mine, but I'm similarly unreliable. Back when I was charged with estimating project efforts, I wondered how I might account for this perhaps most human of qualities, for elements other than raw skill entered into accurately foretelling. The best contributor on a bad day couldn't quite compete with the worst on a good day, but I never found a way to pre-determine when any rhythm might overtake anyone. I stuck with an imaginary average instead, figuring everything would probably even out in the end, which it almost never did.

Yesterday, a Lightening visited.
The day before had seemed a chore piled upon overwhelming obligation. Nothing noteworthy had happened, nothing I'd noticed, but gravity seemed to hold me unmovable until it quite suddenly didn't. The following morning, long-deferred to-do list items melted into done with little effort. I noticed myself standing taller and straighter as if some weight had lifted off me, though I didn't see a probable cause for this Lightening sensation. My perspective suddenly seemed stronger and I no longer felt barriers encumbering my progress. It seemed as though I'd stepped up and out of myself and I was suddenly supervising from slightly above where none of what I had been wrestling with could possibly get on me. Curiously, none of what I was doing then seemed very much about me. It seemed to dance before me instead. A task I'd dreaded even starting almost seemed to accomplish itself. I had seemed to become somebody else.

I don't seem to experience dramatic enough mood swings to fully qualify as manic or depressive. I'm not really prone to bouts of frantic effort or lengthy stalls, I just notice that my association unpredictably varies from day to day. I'm rarely the same two days running. I seem to need to rediscover each morning who I'm becoming that day. I try to maintain my rhythm whether its raining or shining, some days slogging and others, running on every cylinder. My flow seems anything but continuous, but like any river, I guess, an apparent continuity emerges which hardly bears deeper scrutiny. Sit beside any stream and you'll shortly notice that what from a distance seemed a continuous flow actually continually surges and recedes. The periodicity might even seem to vary wildly providing no steady backbeat at all. Up close, it's distinctly arrhythmic, almost bordering upon the down-right chaotic, though also somehow soothing. The surges seem refreshing, the recessions a little disturbing. No average appears to emerge except from some distance. Up close, it's actually ever-changing.

I set my mind on some certain trajectory then notice that my performance varies all over the place, like that river, I guess. I might question how I project my trajectories then, and wonder how I had ever concluded how anything was supposed to have been. Each projection might be victim of my own misguided expectations, though perhaps misguided for very good and decent reasons. I warmly embrace the notion that forward motion should properly unfold regularly even though it never does and never really has. I have no better model to follow. Had I known the variations which would (apparently inevitably) arise from my regularly patterned expectation, what possible good would that knowledge have done me or anyone? Perhaps it's just good enough that I understand that for every day when gravity overwhelms me, Lightenings will quickly follow. Of course, all the Lightenings also get counterbalanced with black dog visits, too, perhaps my only reassurances come from some unprovable belief in eventual balance. I slog then jog then slog again. Life sure seems foggy this morning.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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