"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pieces of the Puzzle

The first thing Carrie and I did on Sunday morning, our first in Iowa, was to head out for an early morning walk. We found ourselves at a footbridge spanning the lazy swirls of the Iowa River, and as we crossed I noticed a puzzle piece on the ground. Odd. But nothing more than a momentary blip - until a few feet farther on I saw a second one. That stopped me.

I scanned ahead on the path and saw a scattering of more a few steps away. We started looking for them and discovered a trail of puzzle pieces leading us to the other side of the river. Because of earlier flooding, the trail wouldn't allow us farther, so we had to turn around and go back, which provided us the pleasure of following the little cardboard breadcrumbs  again.

The next morning, we walked in the opposite direction, only to find another sprinkling of what seemed to be intentionally scattered puzzle pieces on the sidewalk. This time I picked one up and tucked it in my pocket as a reminder, a talisman.

While we won't ever get to know the real story of that puzzle, the pieces are the perfect metaphor for this week.

I came here looking for answers, missing pieces to the puzzle that is the telling of my story.

Iowa, Hope, the Offerer of the Breadcrumb Trail - all are showering me with small bits of color and shape and texture that are beginning to sort themselves into a clear picture.

This is not like a standard jigsaw solution: find the edge pieces, do the frame, sort by color and follow the picture on the box. It feels more like the image is forming in the center and growing outward, the design a mystery unfolding on its own, much like the feeling of warmth that radiates from a heart in love.

In the same way I'm getting to know some amazing people. Twelve of us, plus Hope, sat in a circle of tables for the first time on Sunday. We offered the puzzle pieces of our names, one or two bits of information and whatever people might gather from our appearances and voices. As the week has progressed and we've talked and begun to share our stories and experience each other's writing, each person's picture becomes clearer and clearer. My new friend, Nancy, likened it yesterday to a polaroid photo as it develops.

Today marks the halfway point of the festival. If it were the last day, I'd feel like the puzzle was complete enough. I can't begin to imagine what the next pieces will add to the picture. I can hardly wait to find out.


Carrie Link said...

"It feels more like the image is forming in the center and growing outward, the design a mystery unfolding on its own, much like the feeling of warmth that radiates from a heart in love."

Love being with you as we recognize, pick up and place the pieces!

Journaling Woman said...

It is a perfect metaphor--for life. Every day we pick up life pieces not knowing how they will fit together until one day we step back (when they are in place)and say ahh, now I get it.


Wanda said...

I, too, love the sentence Carrie picked out and am looking forward to the "ahh" moment of Journaling Woman.

Katie Gates said...

I am consistently moved by your voice and your storytelling. I look forward to hearing about the rest of the week in Iowa.

kario said...

I love that you are doing this for yourself. I hope it has restored some of your self-confidence in your writing.

Love you!

Jerri said...

How much do you love the puzzle pieces? Wow! The Universe provides.

Looking forward to more and more and more of this story.

She Writes said...

It's fun and makes one feel rich with life when moments like these come.

Janna Qualman said...

That is so very cool. That someone had the forethought to spread the pieces, as a crytic-yet-filled offering, and that you were on the receiving end.

I hope the remainder of the festival brings you more great things.

M said...

I am so excited that the workshop is bringing some focus to your story. I can hardly wait to hear of the entire adventure.


Amber said...

Wow, what is the story there? I love it. So happy you are enjoying your time!


Kathryn Grace said...

Thank you so much for taking time from the festival to give us a little peek at your experience. The puzzle pieces absolutely charming. I love how you take meaning in the little gifts life showers on you. Many more blessings in these last, likely intense, few days of the journey.

patti said...

Wow. This reminds me of the time I was walking along Lake Michigan a la Lakeshore Drive in Chicago and saw a SINGLE PAGE floating near the shore. Removed it.

It was a page from Walden's Pond.

Still keep it, just as a reminder of the enduring quality of books, the mystery of ONE PIECE of a novel still sending a message.

A little different twist, huh?
Have a great weekend, dear one!


patricia said...

I just love you! We need to get together when you get home!

Terri Tiffany said...

I am so glad your time there is going so well! I love reading your words.