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"Those without long, unforgiving rows to hoe might not ever come to know …"

Plumbers work with their mouths closed. Some work demands taciturn incumbents. Long incommunicado hours foster a rich internal world. Ear worm jingles give way to recollection and quiet consideration and a kind of meditation sets in. Endless uncountable hours spent in repetitive motion does not degrade the craftsman, but seems to elevate him instead. He's not so much working as workitating, as immersed in his experience as any cloistered monk might be within his. Time loses relevance. Aching joints shed their significance. Authentic transcendence settles over the job site. Phone calls seem to come from other dimensions. Removing gloves to answer disrupts the trance, if the ringing even penetrates the serene flowing bubble. I might not be home then, anyway.

Judgement seems to sharpen within this flow.
Knowing hardly ever intrudes except as intuition. Maintaining the flow matters most. Even well-intended intrusions—encouraging words or innocent questions—smear the experience. Recovery takes precious time, which had quietly become irrelevant before the interruption arrived. Whatever happens just happens exactly as it might have been mean to occur. The rest of the world blurs into distant background. The triviality of the task does not matter except that the more routine the motion, the more like a mantra it might become. One does not workitate while constantly referring back to any instruction manual or when under the close direction of any hovering mentor or master. Workitation seems the soul possession of those isolated with menial tasks. I scrape the house front with deeper reverence than the job might seem to deserve.

By the end of the workday, I'm dizzy with a physical exhaustion that had not overtaken me until the sunset broke my trance. I'm refreshed in spirit, though, hardly hungry and might beg off supper. I feel deeply moved from my intimate proximity to siding boards nearly twice my age. I have been immersed in transcendence and cannot immediately relate to the world dawning before me. I clean up begrudgingly, pulling tarps filled with persistent history separated from its familiar surface. I shake that dust into the garbage bin before clumsily folding those tarps for overnight storage. The scaffolding becomes like a stage set then, devoid of real relevance without the presence of the play. I scamper back to the top to wind the electrical cord which followed me around like an obedient pet throughout my long and immensely satisfying workitation.

Some call this state flow and tout its productive properties, encouraging those who want to be in the know to do whatever they might muster to just go there. Workitation seems more accidental than volitional, though. Conditions just align and anybody might find themselves there. Absent certain initial conditions, pursuing flow becomes little more than a cruel imperative, unachievable by any means. All alone, abandoned there to focus upon unremarkable tasks, boredom might give way to an expansive mindfulness of the sort which hardly elevates the work, but reliably uplifts the worker. Those without long, unforgiving rows to hoe might not ever come to know just how ennobling the inescapably menial might become. So much the worse for them.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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