Florida is known for its beaches and sunshiny days. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. After going on the third week in a row of rainy, dismal weather, I spontaneously bought myself a puzzle. The 1000 pieces presented a picture with a French feel to it; lots of different windows with various cats. It was rather quaint and uplifting, and just what I needed to entertain me in my indoor capture.
Built on childhood memories, my first strategy was to sift through the pieces in search of the edges. Going through 1000 pieces is no easy task, but since it was all in the name of fun, I began. Like the slow raindrops of an upcoming monsoon, I began what appeared to be an overwhelming task.
As I tactfully chose each piece, ideas began raining through me. I felt as if I was on an ancesterial quest. Hunting and gathering, I stored pieces in groups of colors and shapes. With intense concentration, I slowly began to see areas take shape and come alive. Images were born and opened up, like a secret exposing itself to the world. As I searched for one specific piece, it became more of a longing, than a search. I needed that piece. I had to have it. It completed me; if just for a moment. I tried to work on my daily tasks of laundry, dishes, computer work; but there it was, tugging- an endless pulling that I could not ignore. Shell pickers, gold diggers, treasure hunters, masked surgeons, dental hygienists, bargain shoppers… I was all of them, in my steady examination.
My mind was racing…couldn’t someone help me? Digging deeper with waves of frantic posture, I meandered through the maze of tiny pieces.
Just the thought of a piece escaping into the folds of the couch terrified me. How did this obsession begin? My temperament was as fickle as the weather, and where once I was level-headed, the puzzle itself unleashed a compulsive past-time of which I was not prepared.
When two pieces met for the first time, when they connected as a perfect fit- it was euphoric! I was driven to applause. I wanted music and celebration. I truly understood the musical triumph found with video games as a player reaches a next level of play.
Historically, jigsaw puzzles have been a past-time since the 1760s, when a mapmaker created them as a means of teaching children geography. As puzzling as it seemed, instead of geography, a lesson of patience, faith, determination, and personal fulfillment was on hand- all in the form of a puzzle. This unexpected teacher showed me that answers don’t always come right away. I need to keep thinking, working, and trying. And with persistence, all is revealed.
As the clouds cleared, I realized we had been a perfect fit for finding satisfaction and comfort on a rainy day.