Amiss in May

By noon on Friday, I could not bear to sit in my office any longer. The weight of what seem a thousand projects pressed upon my shoulders. I could feel the familiar beginnings of depression, agitated by circumstance, busyness, and the reality that none of my projects are anywhere near completion. The sky loomed gray in the west, beyond the peak of the administration building. The temperature dropped to forty-five degrees in the cold rain. Even the Red-Tailed hawk, which often chooses that same peak, was not to be seen. Something was amiss in May.

Driven to the outdoors, I stood looking at the piled pilings of disassembled playground that filled the back half of the driveway. It mocked me, like the Albatross, hung around the neck of the foolish mariner who shot it for whimsy; I would shoot it too. But it would do no good. So I set to my labors, painstakingly painting every side, angle, and beam—new and old—of the task. The wind tore at my bare legs, while my jacket shielded my arms and chest. Five hours of bending, twisting, reaching with the roller first, then the brush, and then the roller again. The wind blew. Hercules, I mumbled, won’t you trade tasks for a season?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And then, after the Fall, God said, "By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." I have eaten of that bitter dust this week, troubled by the nagging doubts of insecurity. How is it that some people must always abide the derision of men? Others, like myself, must abide the secret-telling of arranged meetings and undisclosed topics of conversation, spoken of in my presence in ambiguous language, and with all of the high-school gossip. It is as though some, by their very hinting at secret knowledge or undisclosed matters gain, somehow, for themselves an intrinsic value and importance. Not I. Never I, while the secrets of friends wound more than the curses of enemies.

Wednesday night, I meant to escape off alone. Shannon gave me permission to leave the bedtime routine to her. “Go,” she said, “And have fun.” I meant to see the Sentinel. But the exhaustion which depresses me during daylight hours convinced my body it could do nothing; but sleep. And sleep I did, for some twelve plus hours. Morning broke: disappointment. Why can’t I delight in the rest from my labors, and why does sleep renew the body but not the spirit? More questions to ponder, in this backwards week.

Tuesday: MLB and a 5:30 wakeup. Monday nearly wasted completely, distracted as I’ve been by the silliness of stocks. MMM is up. NFLX is down. CRDN is down then up and down and…I begin to wonder whether I should sell the one to buy the other and the possibilities of thirty cents here and twenty cents there compounded by the difference in share price of 40% is confiscation for the mind. Do I think that I can conquer the great hoard, that through the amassing of wealth, I should have power and with power, recognition and with recognition, command that…that…no more secrets be told by friends in the presence of friends? Would I also command that the Red-Tailed hawk always observe from the same perch?

Perhaps I do better to turn off the computer and walk away. Perhaps, like that dear bird, I need only a new perspective. Let the Spring bring what it may, whatever be amiss. Let stocks fall while hawks rise; there is no secret knowledge. Hercules is silent; he will answer my challenge, and so I eat by the sweat of my face, till I return to the ground.

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