Monday, March 25, 2013

Mosaic

 


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.



28 comments:

Robbie Grey said...

This was amazing. The last lines were especially moving.

terlee said...

I feel my once sharp edges have been sandblasted by time and Fate. Though, perhaps it's not such a bad thing to be rounder, softer?

Love this post.

FrankandMary said...

I feel that I can see you in my mind's eye managing the progression of this task, with it alternately managing you. I think your eyes sparkled a little & your cheeks flushed. I am only a mere shade away from being involved because of the immediacy of the writing. What we tear apart to put ourselves back together. ~Mary

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Oh, Chantel, this is beautiful...and I am so glad to see that it is hopeful, too. Sometimes our beauty really comes out when we have been broken, or unexpectedly sculpted. Thanks for this!

Mary Kirkland said...

Beautifully put.

Big Mark 243 said...

This was a great metaphor... the imperfections of our persons being shaped constantly by the creator (if you go for that sort of thing), vainly searching in randomness for that which is along the path of the subject's creation...

Shelly said...

Our loveliness is in the imperfect uniqueness we singly bear; each of us too small to hold the sum of the beauty of our Creator, but grouted together, we form the mosaic of His likeness.

Brian Miller said...

imperfection is its claim to beauty...smiles...i like that..it fits with most of us you know....and that you found the unwanted table as well on the curb...very cool...and too how each of us is put back together...

BamaTrav said...

I find my mind wandering to the days of old. Of friends and life, that used to be a friend, now memories growing cold, of children that never were and stories never told. There I see you, it pushes my lips into a smile.

Out on the prairie said...

i am ready to sit and enjoy that porch

Mel Heth said...

Sigh. Beautiful.

I wrote a poem once about a relationship being like the rock tumbler that slowly wore away my rough and sharp edges. I definitely think I prefer being smooth...

Chantel said...

Robbie--thank you kindly, sir.

Terlee--I think of who I was twenty years ago...yes, smoother is definitely better. :)

Mary--I love the last line of your comment, so terribly and exquisitely true.

Bliss--thank you, beauty is more...tactile? Deeper? Etched in broken lines...something like that. :)

Mary--thank you!

Big Mark--thank you, sometimes I feel it just cannot be as random as I first thought...can it?

Shelly--exactly! lol I see each of us, broken and imperfect, but together....beautiful.

Brian--yes, I find it astonishing what some throw away...with effort and vision, it can be amazing. The truth of life there, eh?

BamaTrav--yes, but some of the glass in the moasic of each of us, are memories, hmmm?

Prairie--so am I! lol Where the heck is Spring??

Mel--me too. :) And thank you!

Stacy Uncorked said...

Absolutely beautiful - all of it! :) And I second being ready to enjoy that porch. ;)

Easter Egg Decorating Fun Part One

Leah said...

"Madness with razor sharp edges" indeed! Very beautifully written, and funny that the collective mind turned to the wonders of imperfection...

xx Leah

Dee said...

Dear Chantel, yes, lovely indeed. This line speaks so strongly to me: "imperfection is its claim to beauty." I've come to believe that by embracing my whole self--warts and foibles and flaws--I find the deep place where Oneness dwells. I'm so happy you are in the space and place you are. Peace.

The Loerzels said...

This one had me teary. And I'm feeling more glimmery than broken today which is unusual.

ND Mitchell said...

What a wonderful picture. Taking something discarded and adding something broken to make something useful and beautiful out of it. Sure the rough edges remain, but they are a sign of the reforming process. I love that you restore things and then write something amazing about them Chantel. This is a beautful picture of our lives :)

Chantel said...

Stacy--thank you so much! And if you're ever in the 'Burgh...

Leah--I know, when I read your's I had to wonder how the Fates lead us down similar roads. :)

Dee--amen, I'm getting more and more comfortable with my warts, thank goodness.

Marie--you do glimmer so, my dear.

David--thank you, I think it's some kind of cathartic therapy for me, breathing new life into things.

Freckled Philologist said...

Yep, come what may I will have to take the broken pieces of grandma's china that made it over the ocean, but in pieces, like me, and mosaic them together. Inspiration is now complete. Love you.

Stratoz said...

Making a whole from the pieces is a splendid path to take.

ravenjanedoh said...

Nobody should ever stunt your heart when she writes. That there is so much beauty inside you, and that you can find the words to express that beautiful joy - it should be celebrated. That others can find comfort and joy in your words should be a compliment - nothing less. Only an unfettered heart can sing. So sing lady!
-Stopping by to say "hola", and to remind you that this world needs your writing. ::eeheemmm:: ;)

Stephanie @ Life, Unexpectedly said...

It looks so beautiful! I wish I was so talented like you. And I can't wait for spring. It's much over-due. I need some sun on my skin!

I've nominated you for the Liebster Award on my blog to show you my appreciation!

Paige Nicole said...

lovely prose as is your mind.
I adore your spiritual nature and how you appreciate and respect
life.

thank you for sharing your gift
of seeing.

Chantel said...

What a beautiful idea, please send pictures when you do! I can only imagine the meals eaten, the conversations had...the lives lived alongside that china. xo

Chantel said...

Amen. And you would know--such beauty in your work!

Chantel said...

Adore you so, sweet Jane, sometimes you say exactly what I need to hear. :)

Chantel said...

Oh Stephanie--I am so sorry I missed out on your questions/award!! I went a little MIA for a bit, you know how that happens, but I was honored none the less! Thank you!

Chantel said...

Thank you for being someone who understands what I'm trying to say. xo