Thursday, September 24, 2015


Not everyone understands that sometimes restarting is infinitely more difficult than beginning in the first place.  Starting over, at something you know you love doing with writing publically, is equal parts excitement, anticipation, fear and dread for me.  But they're equal parts.

So here I am...

The guru says, "The signs ARE out there.  You just have to be watching for them."  Well that's all fine and good when you have make time to look.  I haven't been making time.  It doesn't really matter why.  We all have reasons.  Honestly, I'm not even sure I was making time.  But there was a sign.  And I knew it was a sign because I couldn't stop thinking about it.  And I stopped what I was doing and went back to take a picture, because I was thinking...when I write about this, I'm going to want a picture to go with the essay so my readers can see what I saw.



Let me take you there....

Last week when I was on my run, there were hundreds of puzzle pieces strewn all over the sidewalk.  The sprinkle of tiny cardboard shapes went on for 20 yards or so, they were on and off the grass and some had fallen into the street.  I cannot explain why, but it made me so sad to see them discarded and littered all over my path.  It was such a odd thing to see on the sidewalk and I immediately began to think about how they must have ended up there.  My guess is that they had spilled out of somebody's trash.  But as they lay there, in their perfect little shapes, they didn't look like trash.  They weren't smelly or rotting or broken.  But someone had decided that they were trash.

Maybe they were broken.  How do you decide that a puzzle is broken?  How many pieces need to be missing before it's time to throw the puzzle away?  One?  Ten?  Is it more about which pieces are missing?  Maybe a puzzle is broken when a key piece is lost.  Or an edge?  A corner perhaps?  Who decides when it's time?  How do you know?

My life feels a lot like a puzzle sometimes.  So many pieces, perfectly formed in themselves, but infinitely more interesting when fitted right next to each other and assembled into the whole.  Some pieces tend to hang together and others are tricky to find sometimes, but when they snap into place, they're a perfect fit.  Some of my pieces are missing.  It happens.  Some of them go missing for long periods and never show up again.  Some pieces get found and it's like a tiny miracle.  Even though there are a few blank spaces here and there, and a few pieces with corners that have been bent and torn, the overall picture is still very clear.  Still very Nancy.

And yes, I realize that I am not a paperboard picture laser cut into tiny sections and sold for $7.99, but I've had a lot to handle lately.  I've lost some pieces of my puzzle in the last few months and that's why I was sad to see the discarded puzzle.  This puzzle had gotten to a point where somebody decided you could no longer see the bigger picture.  There were enough pieces missing that it was trash.

What's my point?  I'm not sure yet, but it has something to do with fiercely guarding the intricately beautiful pieces of yourself.  Repairing the damaged ones.  Taking extra care when handling the broken ones.  Finding a sturdy box to keep them in.  And taking a hard look at those holes where the missing pieces used to fit, and figuring out what kind of colorful thing you could carefully slide underneath, that might not be quite the same as the original, but that will fill up the empty space, and complete the picture.


  1. good lord. thank you for writing and sharing your puzzling pieces. really. really.

  2. You have an appealing sense of candor to your writing. The picture you took is also quite beautiful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.