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Ugo Mulas: James Rosenquist, New York (1964)
"What other choice have I got if I want to develop good judgement?"

My enthusiasm easily overwhelms my ability. I imagine a task completed and, thanks to decades of training and experience, I hold the self-discipline to see that task through to completion without noticing that I might have been OverDoing. I'm rewarded by an aching back and an unwanted slack day as I recover from the self-inflicted injury. Nothing serious, just the usual products of excess: achy back, swollen hand, gripy knees. So much demands doing and I've been aching for years to engage, though a man my age might not expect to immediately bounce back as he used to. It daily becomes clearer that I have yet to develop adequate judgement to determine what's reasonable to expect of myself. I cannot quite find the rhythm of this place yet, but it's only been a couple of short weeks in unusual circumstances since we started SettlingInto. A rhythm might emerge over longer time, once I've addressed initial imperatives. Once in maintenance mode, I should be up to the challenges, or so I tell myself. I can't know yet.

An old adage insists that three instances of bad judgement produce an accident, and that the only reliable way to produce good judgement comes from surviving a few accidents.
Recognizing a lack of good judgement might be a necessary step toward acquiring it, though it seems the long way around. I suspect there's no short-cut. I limped around yesterday trying to realign my back after shuttling a ton or more of rock across the back yard. That job's two-thirds done and I notice myself hesitating before heading back to finish it. I only have lame excuses, but then I was actually lame afterwards, though even I suspected that I might have been over-playing my injury. Maybe I'm just lazy. How could I tell? I'm not one to go crawling off to a quack-o-practor every time I wake up feeling crooked and no doctor should really want to hear my story. I'm developing good judgement by producing inadvertent accidents. I'm probably just at that stage of SettlingInto.

I'd grown accustomed to the demands of our former environment. Cooking at altitude initially proved challenging but after several accidental suppers, I changed my expectations. I learned that beans really needed a full day and night's soaking and even then, would very likely demand at least six hours of concerted cooking, and even then might turn out grainier than desired. Here, much closer to sea level, even garbanzos, the most notoriously difficult beans to soften, loosen up in a couple of hours and cook in comparative minutes. It's too easy to induce over-doneness in anything without noticing. My internal cooking clock's still set for about eight thousand feet and needs some unlearning before reliably delivering what might pass for good judgement or decent suppers here. I'm a novice now with the sensibilities of a master, though my former mastery's clearly past. I'm fit for producing accidents and so must pay absurdly close attention. My enthusiasms seem likely to continue overwhelming my abilities.

I intend to achieve a certain balance but I seemingly must do this by repeatedly throwing myself off balance. I know this when entering even obviously modest tasks, which encourages altogether too much vigilance. I over-think everything, planning and plotting on top of already more than adequate planning and plotting, only to forget once I engage and catch myself OverDoing again. The Muse, too, slips into a kind of feyness where she seemingly cannot very easily disengage. She complains of sleeplessness after staying up too late rearranging again. I catch myself listlessly waiting for my latest time out to expire, both anxious to engage and anxious about engaging again, while my list of undones grows ever longer, the perfect conditions to encourage even more OverDoing. Damned whatever I do for now, I must diligently continue OverDoing while hoping the resulting damage will be modest. I cannot not engage and I lack the judgement necessary to avoid OverDoing, so I will remain an accident actively happening until I'm not. What other choice have I got if I want to develop good judgement?

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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