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Paul Gauguin: Ia Orana Maria (Hail Mary) (1891)
"I doubt that I could have not accomplished it without your presence."

Had I been watching the calendar over the last week, I could have prepared for today being the last day of Winter, but I was not watching. Distraction seems a great and glorious gift capable of producing pure magic. In those rare moments when I lift my head up from my work, I might catch glimpses of myself, but I've been spending the bulk of my days somewhere else. Our life here now seems as though it was holding us in suspension, as if we became an emulsion from which a SettlingOut seemed both inevitable and unlikely. Ten thousand and more elements had found their place here and we over time grew accustomed to the flavor. It started distinctly bitter but later turned sweet, then sour, never really settling on any one dominant profile. Now it turns savory, as the pieces which survived the over-long aging process finally start SettlingOut.

At the end of a meal, one settles up. Once arriving, one starts settling in.
SettlingOut seems preliminary, not quite there yet, not quite done. Done seems asymptotic from here, a certain gravity determines what settles and what remains in suspension, with atmospheric conditions influencing, too. Eventually, the filter clogs or one just loses patience with painstaking processes and calls it quits before making a long-overdue hasty exit, through considerable turbulence, leaving behind only dregs. I finally found the foolhardy courage to tackle the garage, home to the residue of every sin I've committed here. Hasty frustrated purchases settled there, crouching along the back of over-stuffed shelving, behind something rarely used. The space exploded with remembrance, essences bleeding in to overwhelm my present. I packed as if I were a Frankenstein monster, stiff-leggedly shuffling between workbench and the garbage through a slalom course of sorting containers, old plastic cat litter boxes, of which we have dozens. One ended up full of candles, which seemed to flicker from every disturbed corner. Another filled with light bulbs. What an odd collection of detritus we've accumulated!

We've never once used some of the stuff I've retained and yet I dare not discard it. We will never, ever, use those floor mats for The Schooner, replaced by all-weather rubber ones, and yet we will retain them forever. Just how many packages of staples will The Muse ever use? Every project seems to demand that she buy even more of them resulting in what might qualify as a king's ransom, if kidnappers dealt in staples. Which box do those go into? In that moment, porcupines and bunnies seem like perfect box-fellows. I cram the garden gnome into a box filled with begonia bulbs and potting soil, an almost poetic reunion. I'd had to dig him out of a foot of grainy snow and let the fierce end-of-winter sunshine dry him off. He's been with us for years, since before exile, standing in a succession of shady garden corners, a largely unseen witness to everything we've done. His paint so flaked and faded as to render him ghostly, yet he's still present. I ache to perch him beneath that old Apricot tree again.

Another Spring snowstorm threatens. I tried to convince the county road crew to nudge the four foot iceberg their last plowing left behind which severely narrowed our lane, but the supervisor said he was out of budget for the week, though we'd likely see the plow on Sunday, when several fresh inches have been predicted. We're scheduled to load up on Monday, most likely through more snow. I'll shovel my side of the street, I guess, and let the fresh snowfall settle where it choses, as long as the moving truck can nudge up close enough to accept our settlings. I'll carve an alternate path up the near cliff face of our side yard to facilitate moving some of our most cumbersome stuff. By the time we're finished, this house will contain two flustered house cats aching to become feral again, two former homeowners still not quite HeadingHomeward, a guitar rarely touched, and a king's ransom in dust. We've hired cleaners to blow off the remaining stink once we've left.


Friday already, our final Friday here. I'm still clinging to my desk, now surrounded by almost ceiling high piles of boxes, mostly books. Bookshelves stand empty and waiting, most likely groaning in appreciation for their few days without their usual burden. It might be funny to list all the stuff that seems to steadfastly refuse to SettleOut until the very last minute, still holding out, but it might prove too disclosing, too-intimate of a self portrait. Just let the record show that I remained a coward to the very last moment, diligently foot-dragging and whimpering. The long-dreaded Winter's passing to find me utterly unprepared for Spring. By long tradition, my HeadingHomeward story should end right here, without The Muse and I even HeadingHomeward yet, and I might yet decide to just let this tritely sleeping dog lie right here forever without even attempting to offer closure. I'm rightly on to something else instead of actually SettlingOut, for I've abandoned my patience. Let the record show that it threatened to snow again before we could actually leave. Tomorrow, I'll most likely begin a new series, something I'll call SettlingIn, before we've even left.

I began my writing week feeling as though my future had been
Stalking me. "I'm prey and I know it, and I come to welcome my demise at the hands of these changes."

My most popular posting this week also served as my obligatory political screed with
CultYourWars. "We forfeit the considerable benefits of doubt when we become so certain. We tend to outsmart ourselves whenever we start feeling all-knowing."

I sensed myself somehow living out of time for the moment in
Nowish. "Those enjoying the more transcendent symptoms of Marin County Poisoning exhort me to Live In The Moment, a suggestion that quite honestly makes absolutely no sense to me."

Nearing the end of my marathon, I opted to take an unearned day off in
Achilles'Finger. "I'm probably more vulnerable than I imagine. A paper cut finger could sideline me, and not for lack of gumption."

I reflected upon how stuff seems strangely more real once stuffed into boxes in
GettingRealer. "Real change, GettingRealer, demands much delusion."

I engaged in an unpainting exercise, the purpose of which I intended to produce a blank canvas in
HollowingIn. "A rarely-practiced technique produces blank canvasses without evident past and pregnant with future possibilities."

I ended my writing week scorching some of the space we've inhabited in
HOAed. "The challenge of governance never ultimately depends upon the power of any policing force, but upon an almost uncommon decency among the citizens."

So that's how this final week of exile SettledOut. Some fine solids remain, keepsakes suitable for boxing in some future HeadingHomeward move. I'm still acquiring, though packing should have already dissuaded me from ever acquiring anything ever again. Have I discovered who I am in this move or merely disclosed who I always was? No matter how far I've ever fled, I've never once managed to escape myself yet. Yet.

Thank you for following along on my HeadingHomeward-less HeadingHomeward. I doubt that I could have not accomplished it without your presence.

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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