abstraction

I work in abstraction these days, in an arbitrary world of numbers, rules set atop rules to meet accounting and inventory tracking standards, spreadsheets growing in cellular complexity daily, interconnected by formulas and references, a web of imaginary numbers based loosely on reality.
I crave a return to trailwork, to manual labor where the days tasks are more easily aligned, the outcome more completely visualized. Here and now, I am struggling with the same battle that I often fought with in graphic design – a mental knowledge of work completed that I have difficulty connecting to a physical reality. I know that I am completing a set amount of work daily, know so rationally, but cannot feel it in my bones, nor in my exhaustion when ready for sleep.
I play atop human concepts that rest loosely upon natural ones. I can rationalize a successful path in tracking inventories…but I can feel the weight of a granite stepping stone slide into place.
In the here and now, I find myself an observer of things in the same removed way, diminished in force and passion. In the here and now I am bearing witness to the end of small businesses, to family dreams, to the stability of jobs, to the change as one massive company acquires another… I am indirectly affected by our economic instability through the stories of the lives that touch mine.
I witness human struggle of the immediate reality, but know my own struggles only loosely. Survivor’s guilt, as it were… So you offer what you can – hold a friend who lost her job just the other day, listen to the story of another as she tells of dealing with layoffs, reason with a co-worker rationalizing if he will be employed in a year, and ponder bankruptcy and financial despair in the trials of friends and family. I am stable, for now, but know that all is precarious.
In light of that, I breathe deep the mountain air, await the stars racing in after sunset, and remember that there are greater things to explore, to accept, and to be accepted by than the systems we devise on top of the natural world.

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