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.