Rendered Fat Content


Trek: George Pemba (1975)
" … the grace to forgive ourselves for what we knew not what we did."

HeadingHomeward, unsurprisingly, turns out to be a process, and a prolonged one comprised of semi-sequential stages: Aspiring, Planning, Refurbishing, Packing, and today's focus, Vacating. Vacating features both a long nose and an even longer tail. It begins way back in the Aspiring stage when we struggle to envision the place without our presence, an utter impossibility we innocently assumed responsibility for achieving. Of course we failed to satisfy that expectation, it requiring us to see into negative space, but we seemingly had to exert some effort toward accomplishing it, if only for form's sake. I aspire to achieve a clean exit even though I suspect that nobody ever actually achieves this. Still, stewardship insists that we at least attempt to make peace with our eventual absence. Yes, we conclude, this place might just be able to exist without our presence, though we can never quite imagine how. Each stage of HeadingHomeward seems destined to further humble us into acceptance.

I suspect, based upon prior experience, that Vacating here will turn out to be a prolonged affair, probably an eternal one.
Heartstrings, or something very much like them, will remain attached however much we might physically distance ourselves. My thoughts continue to meander back toward prior homes where I wonder what ever became of that ancient neighbor whose walk I used to shovel without her asking whenever it snowed and that neighbor kid who used to listen to my new songs with such rapt attention. In some striking ways, I've never successfully left anywhere I've ever lived, as if a part of my spirit took permanent root without my noticing until much later. I'm one to revisit prior homes. I drive by as if to just say 'hi' as if reminding that place that I still exist. I find this practice affirming.

Vacating includes much sorting, much of it more like rearranging deck chairs on a steamship destined for certain destruction more than any definite destination. I want my possessions ordered before I exit. The normal chaos I grew to tolerate becomes much less tolerable when actively vacating. I worry about my odds and ends, the detritus remaining from a thousand little projects, lengths of wire very likely unusable and leftover screws I once felt blessed to find. These comprise much of my treasure, I discover, and I wonder what this revelation says about me, perhaps that my essence has successfully slid into a permanent periphery, mostly leftovers from earlier adventures now. Somehow, all this stuff will either fit into the truck or not, and whatever I leave behind seems unlikely to simply disappear. I wonder with increasing urgency to whom I might give my peripherals for safekeeping or reuse. I suppose Vacating's animated by a certain level of separation anxiety. Who, I wonder, will I become when I leave my little significances behind?

Vacating's not just all nostalgia and longing, though. Much of the effort borders on brutal. Snap decisions arrived at under duress and casual compromises unrecognized in the moment combine to make it confusing later. When we went into exile, The Muse was off making landfall in our next existence while I tied up loose ends made looser by my presence. She later asked where some of her most treasured board games had gone. I had not suspected that those boxes held revered memories, since I'd never seen her play them even once, not being much of a game player myself. I'd innocently abandoned some of her legacy and could only plead guilty as charged. I suspect that she lost a little of her former respect for me after that, Vacating prior esteem. I easily imagine repeat performances this time, for inadvertence might most deeply influence every Vacating. Forgive us, for we know not what in the heck we're doing. We're Vacating. I pray that we might find the grace to forgive ourselves for what we knew not what we did. We're most certainly doing that to ourselves now.


We ticked over the middle of February this week and entered week three of our bereavement over losing my daughter Heidi. The country slid into deep freeze with many losing electricity while I, humbled, continued crafting my little significant stories. Painters continued their invasion of The Villa. We expect them to finish Vacating later this morning. With me steadfastly continuing to make this up as I go along, Friday demands a little accounting:

I began my week's writing by considering how rarely I manifest mastery in
JourneyManning. "My JourneyMannning provides more significant contribution toward completion than my mastering ever did."

I next considered losing (or temporarily suspending) certain
Inalienable rights. "The Inalienable rights I care about seem more fundamental than political, more personal than social. I mostly enjoy the Inalienable right to move around my home without having to think very much about what I'm doing."

I wrote a Valentine homage to The Muse engaging in her art of living with
DisAssemblage, which proved to be the week's most popular posting. " … she dedicated herself to proper technique, trusting no one else's eye to protect her treasures, each piece lovingly placed within sealed boxes, an unseen result nonetheless steadfastly produced."

I stood aside to reflect on perhaps the most powerful sense in
AbSensation. "Some insist it's suffering; others, that it's just a particularly intense form of loving."

I next noticed, as a part of our Vacating, a number of
WhiteElephants manifesting while we were packing. "From probable salvation to certain damnation in an instant of sober consideration."

I sang in praise and thanksgiving for the mollifying beneficence
DistRaction brings. It's perhaps not the cure for anything but an important part of effective treatment. "I most fear any sense that I might prove myself the master of this experience rather than its unwilling apprentice"

I ended my writing week
RoughingIt, wherein I proclaimed myself a definite change wuss and compared my 5G Grandfather's harrowing experiences with mine. "I feel put-upon if I can't find clean underpants, for cripes sake."

Upon reflection, I see that this week has represented the first full week of Vacating in this HeadingHomeward saga. Two months into the trek, we're nudging more deeply into the essence of it. No longer theory or someday aspiration, it's feeling more real every day. There's no way to slow or stop the process. It seems inexorable now. Thank you for following along while I struggle to figure out this transition. I couldn't have even begun without your presence. I wonder how this will end, or if it ever will. Stay tuned!

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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