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OtterSummer 8.35-Nurchure

I’ve collected more than my fair share of life-guiding homilies. My profession expects me to, and I suspect my nature encourages me, too. Any time I run short—or feel I am running out, since I have an eternal excess—my Facebook stream recharges the aquifer.

The older I get, though, the more skeptical I’ve become. This might qualify as beneficial. I used to swallow just any old thing as eternal truth. Now, even eternal truth wants some choking to slip down.

Somewhere in there, the old nature versus nurture debate simmers. I cherry-pick while I watch The Grand Otter navigate her muddy stream. I easily ascribe to my beneficent influence her more effortless successes. Her pratfalls clearly result from recessive genetics inherited from her less fashionable forebears. I make all this up so seamlessly, I easily satisfy what could have been a useful curiosity.

My most favorite homilies exhort me to take nothing personally. This advice works extremely well, except in practice. In practice, in life, pretty much everything amounts to personal, since I’m the filter through which each observation must pass. An amended, perhaps improved guideline might encourage me to recognize my every reaction as resonance of a deep and inescapable personal involvement: there’s no such thing as an impersonal experience.

This insight takes nobody off any hook, and might well sink the old hook in even deeper, but it seems to beat the old paradox of objective observation, where one observes without the encumbrance of an observer boogering up the works. I am the booger in my works.

I surf a rip tide of feelings when The Grand Otter’s around. Most seem capable of sucking me in over my head. I splutter plenty. I can project tacit expectations, knowing she could not possibly satisfy them except by accident. I can also insist upon certain personal preferences—I do have some rank authority in the relationship—some of which she might satisfy, but usually with at least a perfunctory tussle. Nobody appreciates being told what they have to do.

She seems to have a shorter fuse than I was born with. She explodes almost instantly while I can sizzle along, hardly letting off any smoke, only to explode so far away from the match that cause can be impossible for even me to determine. Together, we make one heck of a team, pitching spitball expectations interspersed with the occasional curve ball, usually striking each other out.

It might be my imagination working his accustomed overtime, but the normal generational arrhythmia seems amplified this OtterSummer. We don’t dance very well together. Of course we were never very much alike, anyway, but the differences ache more deeply this year. I am, of course, grieving much lost innocence—hers and mine. Seems I used to have a handy homily to explain almost every anomaly, but no more.

This story’s writing itself this year, with no clever outline guiding anyone’s pen. I’d thought I would have nurtured some deeper understanding by now, but the nature of these times seems determined against figuring out anything.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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