Mutual incomprehension generates space between people, which allows us to breathe and turn about.

I didn’t do the jig-saw puzzle. No credit, no blame. But it was done at the other end of the table I write on, so it played out in front of me. Four persons, together and in shifts: they were pleased to be finished, a full day later. It was a challenge engaged and accomplished. They fought entropy to a standstill, at least until the thousand pieces were unplugged and returned to the box. If  you like jig-saw puzzles, the only questions are “was it hard, how long did it take?” If you’re not a fan, you ask “why?”

This question comes from one who does daily Sudokos and KenKens and Cryptograms. Except I get my puzzles, it’s yours that don’t make any sense. Okay, whichever strokes folks wish to be struck with. Sure, fine. But, still, why?


cover & finished

A thousand in one.


Here is another puzzle, one of mine, meaning one in which I participated.

Cinderella must have a clock to mark the magic hour, columns to shudder and slide, a backdrop for the palace. Also, not shown here, a mantle for her hearth, and a pumpkin carriage for conveyance, every piece fresh-built. And a godmother, forest friends and fairies, step-mother & -sisters, a prince and a royal court. The performances were the middle week of May, so this puzzle, too, is back in the box. Scores of dancers remember, scores of costumes are returned to hangers, around a thousand persons saw the show. But it is done. All gone, except the elements, the memories, and the video. Dance is as transient as a jig-saw: a thousand pieces must be fit and made to work as one. Then, the box. With luck there’s a picture, or a film.

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Columns and the midnight clock.


The palace drop.

Everything else we do, almost, from the most ordinary to the most wonderful, is pulled through the event-horizon of the mundane world. Meals cooked, lawns mowed, laundry folded, floors scrubbed—all gone, nor any trace. Breathe, sleep, talk; strut and fret for a while.

The big puzzles we take on and resolve can endure a little longer, be seen by many, be remembered; or be cut into a more persistent medium to stand for an hour or a century. As we all attempt to solve each puzzle set for us, the odds go up that someone, someday, gets it right.

A good day for any of us pays something forward, towards the long horizon.