Rendered Fat Content


Francis Danby: The Deluge, circa 1840
"The worst hard times, the best hard times, or simply our hard times?"

The rising sun tints the eastern horizon pink and robin egg blue, transforming the conifers along the ridge into silhouettes of themselves. Yesterday's spring snowfall lies heavy upon the backyard pine's limbs, gloopy frosting expertly draped. By the end of this day, the twisting road up from the interstate will have burned to bare and dry. Tomorrow, the buried sprouting springtime will have reemerged back into warm sunshine again. I might have yesterday shoveled the last snow for this season, and I'd find reason to celebrate this small liberation if I had not grown to revel in the work. We weren't going anywhere and I insisted upon shoving snow anyway, a regulating obligation in my day, admittedly made up so that I had something different than numbing sameness to do. It seems so damned peaceful here.

I understand that these are the worst of times, the leading edge of what might prove to become another Great Depression, but the general impression I've received witnessing this latest apocalypse has not seemed at all like what I imagined end times would be.
It's spring, regardless of the latest snowfall, and the birdcall enlivens the start of every damned day. A fox has taken to slipping through the yard, tarrying one morning before our grand front window, probably having caught the scent of our kittens on the freshly-laid mulch. My breakfast, a Mason jar filled with my finest ever bean concoction, warms submersed in a stockpot simmering spices to humidify the dry inside air. The kittens rampage around the place, anticipating another day of discovery, excited by visiting magpies. All seems altogether right with even this weary world.

My flag still hangs upside down, signifying dire distress. Some of my neighbors think me obsessed, but I do not want to forget just where I am. I might myself be fortunate, but I increasingly feel a member of a shrinking minority. Misfortune still seems a distant possibility for me, but my son lost his job a month ago. He home schools his two rambunctious kids while wondering where next month's rent might come from. Yet even he finds himself creating more fluidly than before, in secret hours before dawn. We are still here, there being no there there for now. We speak and dream of a time after this deluge, just as if we could imagine how it must be and will be, though we understand that our worlds will never again be like they were before.

I slow walk my way around and through this time, spreading a breadcrumb trail behind me, presuming that those crumbs might help me find my way back someday, though I know that there's not likely to be a way back again. Seven hundred and three unique page views followed me breaking trail this past week.

The PanDamning brought its blessings, starting with me acknowledging that I had been taking this experience
ToGo, packaged up for future reflection.

I next recounted a few of my more prominent
MistOpportunities, satisfied with where serial synchronicities have taken me.

Easter Sunday came as an obvious affront to spring, and I caught myself doing what I do when I don't know what to do in

Then, reflecting upon the high holy day from the refuge of the following ordinary morning, I considered just how damned non-celebratory holidays seem to me in

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, I considered my relationship with authority, reasoning, as my father taught me, that everything seems to flow more easily when I can find a good reason to even respect the desperado when I'm out-gunned.

I turned light-hearted when recounting what shopping's become in

I ended my writing week by considering how grand plans manage to manifest results in

I have been enjoying finding old masters' works to accompany each little essay, perhaps because these remind me that these hard times are not nearly as unique as they might seem. Great art emerged from prior hard times to remind us from within our own. These times seem alarming unless immersed within them. They do not, from right here this morning, seem anything like the worst hard times. Nor can I quite muster a conviction that these qualify as the best hard times, either, just that they're our hard times. Thanks for being here with me as I try to comprehend them.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

blog comments powered by Disqus

Made in RapidWeaver