Sunday, November 20, 2005

Why the piece counts on puzzle boxes?

I always thought that puzzle piece counts on jigsaw puzzle boxes were about competitiveness. The boxes heckle to passers-by: "How many pieces can you handle? Twenty? One hundred? TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY?!! Come on, how smart are you, really?" The checker at "We B Toys" judges from behind her bar code reader, "Oh, a fifty piece puzzle..." ... "It's, uh, for my, uh niece."

What I have learned, now that I have been inducted to the secret society of motherhood:Those piece counts have nothing to do with skill level, challenge or even quality control. They are for moms. 24 Jumbo pieces, it says. I can only find 22. I'll give the two pieces a week to ransom themselves for the group. Otherwise its into the "box board" pile for Tuesday curbside pick-up.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Chalk dust

Our Unitarian minister remarked in August on the paradoxical state we are in as the only known conscious observers of the Universe and simultaneously as such tiny and brief and inconsequential participants. So it is with the Universe; likewise in the minute space of our own lives.

My best friend sent me and Satya, "the star princess," a poem by Ted Kooser, Poet Laureate, entitled Telescope. The telescope becomes the tool for engaging such a paradox in all of its terrifying reality. Through its use, "the depth of the stars stays always constant / and we are able to sleep." Somehow, Yes!, our insignificance writ large by the night sky makes all the day's mistakes and miseries bearable. Indeed the cold starry universe is a kind reminder that we matter so very very little - in our suffering, in our wretchedness and even in our triumph. Today was such a day for me. I was glad to see that chalky blackboard erased of all the day's scribbles and tabulations. I just hope no one was taking notes.