Ice is falling from the sky today. Clouds of lead scatter frozen glitter across the world outside my window, I can hear it patter against the glass. The multiplicity that is Spring never ceases to amaze as this day is nearly polar of one just a few weeks past when balmy breezes and sun-filled skies oversaw the cleaning of my potting bench; the stacking of clay vessels, inventory of seeds and soil and plans begun. I swept the front porch and replaced the urns which are begging for new ferns once Winter has truly taken his leave. Removed the now shriveled chives and thyme that passed away beneath alabaster blankets of snow. I organized the lanterns, wiped down chairs and tables in anticipation of lengthening evenings, warmer winds, and a glass of whiskey shared while the children play hockey in the street.
At the far end of the porch, where I like to sit and read, is a table. My table. I found it abandoned on the curb, rusted and put out for rubbish. Unwanted. A summer project unfolding with a coat of black paint, and a bag of broken glass. I'd never tiled anything other than the floor in the entryway of our house, and that was all numbered and logical. This was madness with razor sharp edges.
I remember the sun warm on my bare shoulders, my hair tied up but managing to escape anyway in long pieces that blew about in the summer air. Music drifted out from the double front doors that are always left open when weather permits, Hazel dozed upon the steps. I knelt on the cement walk and carefully covered bits of blue and green, like chips of the sky and sea, with an old kitchen cloth. The hammer clutched in my hand, it's leather grip leaving ridges in the flesh of my palm, I shattered them.
Sawyer came out and sat on the grass beside me. "Can I try?" he asked. "Of course, love, just be sure to cover the glass with the towel so we don't get pieces in the yard." He followed instructions, raised his arm, and pulverized it to dust. "Whoa!" I laughed, "Not so hard or I won't have anything to glue!" He grinned and we worked together for another twenty minutes or so before he dashed off to play with his brothers. I carefully picked up the pieces and returned to the naked table.
I had some general idea of what I'd like to see, but nothing truly planned. I spread the paste, and placed the first piece. Then the second, and the third. It seemed the ocean spilled out over that table, held together with glue and some of my own blood smeared from tiny nicks and cuts; grimly jagged, that glass was. I had to sort through the fractured remains, searching for one that was triangular...square...flat on top and round on the bottom. As the design unfolded, my needs were more and more specific. Back to the walk and now choosing carefully, I tapped. I chiseled. Microscopic adjustments, precise movement...deliberate splintering.
I ran out of flat glass. Had to improvise with odds and ends found about the house. Patiently I worked the black grout between the knifelike rivulets, dark sand gritty beneath my nails. Certainly, it resembles nothing machine made, imperfection is its claim to beauty. Unique and slightly uncentered...much as I. I found myself tracing the now passive bits of glass, their edges muted, lethality expunged.
Oh, how life has chiseled me.
I find astonishing comfort in this thought. There is marvelous beauty in this life we all share; a tapestry of love and agony, death and birth and sunlight on still ponds. And each of us a part, shaped by forces greater than ourselves. Sculpted. Sometimes just a sanding of the rough, sometimes surgery of the soul. But together, our broken bits glinting in the light....
We are lovely indeed.