Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Piling Up Treasure--by Proxy

I have found sometimes that whatever is going on in my life, or in my head, seems to need working out in some oblique way.  Some stand-in activity that exercises muscles that need strengthening, rehearses story lines I need to learn.

Like times when I've been especially stumped by some dilemma, and have spent endless hours bent over a jigsaw puzzle, past the point of sleep and oblivious to shooting pains in my back.  In such circumstances, I was held to the spot and to the pursuit of a completed picture.

Or when I have felt bested by life, and been compelled to countless games of solitaire, needing a win more than anything.

Or days when whirlwind cleaning spells have come over me, when order and spotlessness are everything, and I scrub and dust and rearrange until I drop.

The last few days, I have found myself farming glass.  

Almost two years ago, a high wind took our glass patio table over, and a translucent plane that had held place settings for eight became zillions of tiny glinting shards.  When it happened, the weather was already turning cold, and life was busy, and the snow fell before I had made much of a dent in harvesting the dangerous crop that dusted a wide section of my backyard.  

Last summer, I made a few desultory efforts to tackle the disaster area, but lost focus, and the crazy hope that I could really reclaim my ground.

But this week, the action of combing (literally--with an actual comb!) the dirt and filling my hand, and then a large paper bag with dozens, and by now hundreds of pieces of glass, many of them near-perfect 1/8" cubes, has become an absorption that calls me outside for hours each day.  I recognize the aching back and leg muscles, and the resistance to stopping, from my earlier experiences of this kind of externalized spiritual quest.

I'm not sure exactly what I'm seeking, but I know I need to keep at it--and that I'll know when I'm done.  Right now, nothing holds as much satisfaction as spotting a shiny surface peeking out from the soil, freeing it, and adding it to my growing pile.

Today, I guess this is what procrastination looks like.

No comments:

Post a Comment