Making the scattered pieces whole


It’s Sunday night and the floor is swept and tomorrow’s clothes are laid out and lunch is packed and coffee measured in the percolator basket, all ready to start a new week well.

He’s pulled the trash to the curb for an early morning pick-up, settled into his chair at his desk and pulled out the books that are rarely far away and always on his mind.

Muse’s crashing pianos and throbbing bass lines pour from small desk speakers, morph into softer melodies that somehow switch to driving rhythms that leave harmonies behind as ITunes shuffles back and forth.

Dark comes early now, it seems. Though it’s just past seven, night has settled over fresh-cut grass and stray leaves and rotting apples dropped from a neighbor’s tree into the alley.

And in the lamp light glowing I feel it take hold, this lure of small puzzle pieces fitting together, the hobby I save for winter nights.

I started early this year, I guess, pulling out a smaller one gifted to me last March, sorting edge from center pieces on the piano bench’s flat surface, catching dropped pieces before Vesper could spirit them away while she watched, curious and left out, from the floor.

And minutes slid into hours without me noticing as the picture formed under my fingers. Vesper, bored, left to make mischief elsewhere but I did not notice. If he spoke to me, I did not hear. I saw only patterns; dark purple giving way to cool grays of brick in shadow, fall leaves slipping into dusk skies; shapes of pieces and shapes of spaces dancing in my mind…

… until I reached for that last piece and felt the ache in my neck from the hunching and realized my eyes were tired and that, where pieces had been scattered, a picture lay quiet.

It’s only for a little while that the picture stays. I crumble it back into pieces on my way to bed, packing it back into the box it came in. I put it back on the shelf, move the bench back under the piano.

But there’s a quiet in my soul that lingers on. Somehow, building scattered pieces of cardboard into something that’s whole and connected and means something — that makes a picture that makes sense instead of isolated shots of color or bits of patterns — is a sort of catharsis.

It’s the drawing together, the creation of something big with pieces that, alone, convey nothing.

And at the start of another week of days filled with typed words and long meetings and gyms and coffee and bike rides and cleaning and running late and going here and there in a sort of staccato rhythm, it’s easy to see the days standing on their own, confused pieces of life that say nothing, show nothing.

But that, fit together one by one, can make a life beautiful.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Making the scattered pieces whole

  1. Just completed my first puzzle for the cool weather season as well. There’s something very relaxing about putting one together – perfect for a break from pre-deployment stress.

    My husband looked over my shoulder, paused, and then said in disbelief “You actually ENJOY doing that?” I guess manipulating 1000 little pieces of cardboard for hours doesn’t appeal to everyone.

    I don’t usually comment, but do follow your blog.

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