Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Puzzle Night

   I spent most of last night sitting at my kitchen table with my girlfriend. We got started on a 1,026 piece jigsaw puzzle that looks as if it will require a few more evenings to complete. The image on the box, and hopefully on the puzzle itself eventually, is of a butterfly. And that butterfly is made up of perhaps a few thousand smaller images of flowers, birds, mountains, sunsets, balloon filled skies, waterfalls, buffaloes, beaches and so on.

   Once we settled in, she went to work on the border. She found the pieces that had a flat side, identified them as a top or bottom, left or right side, and positioned them on the table accordingly. Each step bringing us closer to constructing the framework within which we would continue to work. And I began looking at the poster that came with the puzzle, and the images on the individual pieces. I was hoping to find some images from the interior that stood out. Small groups of pieces that I could locate in the pile, and hopefully use to establish our presence in that region of the puzzle. (She had far more success than I did, as I am easily distracted by pretty pictures.)

   It was a quiet night. My cat slept on the chair in between us. We left the windows open, turned on the fan, and let the slow deep warmth on the June night seep into us. We listened to old episodes of This American Life. We paused occasionally to exchange thoughts about the puzzle or the radio show. But mostly we just focused on the puzzle in silence. Intent on working through the task, but doing so without any sense of urgency. And just like that, without any spectacular event or special occasion, I enjoyed one of the more pleasant evenings in recent memory.

   I'm sitting at that same kitchen table right now, thinking back on last night, and other memories that feel similar. Going for a late night swim with a few good friends. Making snow angels with an old girlfriend nearly twenty years ago. Sorting through expired canned goods with my little sister, and discovering good full belly laughs hidden in our mischievous project. A long solitary run on a rainy day. A picnic with my mom when I was nine years old.

   And as I think of these things, I am amazed at how easy it seems right at this moment. It seems like something that I should be able to discover every day. But I won't discover it every day. I'll wander off. I'll trip and fall. I'll have bad days. And I may even stumble through a few more bad years before my race has been run. But I'm going to try to remember. I'm going to try to remember the beauty that I find in all of these tiny little puzzle pieces. I'm going to try to focus on all of the incredible worlds that I find at my fingertips, and that come together to create the big world that surrounds me.

1 comment:

  1. As I'm sitting here reading this I've got a cup of coffee in my hand, a small dog napping next to me, and a really enjoyable album (Black Mountain's eponymous debut) playing on my iTunes. Wonderful post - here's to the simple things.