Rendered Fat Content


Edouard Manet: The Races (1865)

"I might just as well surrender to this feeling."

This Spring, this Reconning Spring, has moved slowly, dragging what passes for her feet every inch of its way. One day, sunny, the next three, raining and cold, some days snowing, other days just blowing, it's been inhospitable if also welcome weather. It's been welcome weather because last year, these rains never arrived. We sat here watching July and August's wheat harvest dehydrate in the fields, expectations for yields steadily plummeting. Conversation out at the Ranch Supply leaned toward catastrophe. Nobody had seen anything very much like it. No end ever came into sight right into August when the worst case descended. Wildfires raged in the mountains and a heat dome hung low over the valley. Every day dawned clear if smoky and the sprinklers ran overtime all summer. The fuchsia didn't make it.

I've admitted to hiding behind this weather, of taking solace that I could too easily justify slow walking into this season, for I was facing a daunting personal challenge. I'd committed myself to repainting the Villa, to repairing the damage I'd caused when last trying to defend it against inexorable aging, but my heart wasn't in it.
I well remembered the joy I'd experienced when originally refinishing those walls. My brother and sister-in-law and her son engaged, too, as well as an old friend, and we barn-raised or something for a solid month that Spring. I engaged with the redeemer's righteousness, certain as I was that I was preserving a house previously threatened by shoddy repainting. I was correcting prior owners' mistakes. I was setting the record straight. Later, I learned that I had been partially deluding myself. I, too, proved capable of inflicting well-intended damage, just as the least or best of us always are. Further, I proved capable of misleading myself and by extension others, for I'd directed the effort and they'd followed, not that I carry any residual guilt about that experience or anything. (Joking)

I suppose it was perfectly—or imperfectly— understandable if I felt some reluctance to set that hard-won mistake to rights. Who could attest that I was not investing in just another delusionary improvement? Who might reassure me? Further, I'd inexplicably aged a decade since that last season climbing scaffolding and I didn't feel half as nimble as I remember feeling then. Then, I was on leave from our Exile, home engaging in God's work. Now, I'm home, performing solo, with little cheering me forward. I guess I figured that if this season can drag what passes for her feet, than I might just as well drag mine in response, not that I could have managed much different. Nobody preps in stiff sidewinds and spitting snow. One bides their time, hoping for an opening.

This morning, the day promises something promising. Tomorrow, the rains return and remain into the weekend, but today, I face exquisite painting weather. Kurt Our Painter helped me move the scaffolding yesterday morning and I managed to disassemble the damned stuff without brushing up against that power line. The strip of wall revealed when we moved that stuff showed what I was attempting and proved freshly motivating. Whatever misgivings I might have been feeling, encouraged by the slowly unfolding season, lost some influence when I could finally witness what I had been accomplishing. Freshly motivated now, I contemplate some Sprinting. It seems possible this morning that I might start and finish this latest strip of siding in this single day, have it washed, caulked, and three coated before tomorrow morning's rains arrive. I understand that this effort's no race and I'm better on scaffolding when I'm hastening slowly, but I finally feel as frisky as I need to feel to nudge my way through this otherwise ordeal. I feel almost as nimble as I felt a decade ago when I first started this effort, nimble now, but more experienced. It promises some Spring today, the season for Sprinting. I might just as well surrender to this feeling.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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