For Naught.

by Nic Olson

The trees were shielded in sleet. They chinked together like off-key wind chimes, or like a pocket of glass marbles, cat’s eyes. It rained snow, it snowed rain. It sleeted, one might say. Mostly unlike anything I’ve ever seen, weather wise. The branches were enveloped in ice and the wind jangled them together. Other iced objects: telephone booths, the road, bus stops, windshields, stairs and hand rails, squirrels. The weather put in a twelve hour shift of making dangerous and decorative everything exposed to the outdoors. And after all the hard work, the sun ruined it all. This morning, still chilled and brisk, the sun undid all the iced objects. It only rained under trees, hailed even, as the wind knocked off the bits of melting sleet from branches, smashing into parked cars like miniature crystal wine glasses. All of Weather’s work was for naught.

I cooked supper last night, after a week or more of not eating at home. Chana, veg curry, rice. I bought dry chick peas, first time, and followed the instructions for soaking. They ended up softer, but not soft enough. I decided that while stewing in a tomato, spice, onion and water mixture, they would soften ideally and make for the perfect curry. They didn’t, and my dish was more firm than the devil at a youth rally. All my cook work was for naught.

The television show Lost. After five seasons of games, questions and childish dialogue the final season does little more than ruin what could have been an epic. All five seasons were for naught.

Work without ceasing produces a special feeling when the unceasing work produces something of worth, or at at the very least, something that isn’t a failure. Hard work isn’t meant to be rewarded unless the reward is the actual production of a valuable end. But when hard work is neither rewarded nor is a means to a valuable end, when the hard work is for naught, the worker must work harder or reexamine what end the work was being done for.

I haven’t worked hard in months. So I’ve got nothing to worry about…