Monday, March 23, 2009


A jigsaw puzzle provides a thousand tiny victories--or two or three thousand victories, when there are a thousand pieces to fit together. I sit on the floor for hours seeking success.

The spotlight of my attention shrinks the world. There is only this patch of floor, this picture on the box (the standard for everything), these scattered and jumbled pieces of the world. Each has its pattern of colors pushing and pulling, orange and yellow and red. And look--a slice of black, a blaze of white! The only purpose for the third dimension is to allow pieces to be moved more efficiently. Time collapses and refuses to be measured.

Every shape is a question and an answer. Some ask tentatively, others announce themselves boldly. Some wait in patience, others make strident demands. A hole cries out to be filled, and I cannot ignore its pleas. I search through the pieces, sifting and sorting and going blind. My fingers pick up and discard this piece and that, and let minutes trickle through.

When the edges finally align, all's right in the universe.

But immediately another hole cries out for completion. Standing up wrenches at my mind. Whenever I close my eyes, the brightly colored puzzle pieces lay themselves out on a black background, and my fingers itch to sort through them.

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