Instruction to a young friend

Shadows by Kevin Dooley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Creative Commons License
Shadows by Kevin Dooley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

“I shall never get you put together entirely, / Pieced, glued, and properly jointed.” – Sylvia Plath, “The Colossus”

The thing is in doing it properly.  You must be prepared with glue, scissors, and the keen eye of an artist.  You learn to see better.  The only thing to do is to take one piece at a time and, studying it, put it in the proper place next to the others.  One piece at a time is the only way to do it.  If you slip, and find yourself lost, you need backtrack to the last piece you placed, and, beginning from that point, start again.  Starting again, you take up another piece and study it like the others.  It’s the only way.  Some believe you can stand back and try to form the overall picture, try to see the way it will look when all pieces are in place.  They delude themselves.  The only way of the thing is in taking one piece at a time, one moment, one afternoon, one pink sunrise or one orange sunset, one late night phone call, one midday nap.  The order is not important; it is the going at it one piece at a time that matters.  The stillness of a winter’s night, the frothy blush of a spring’s blossomy tree.  The whisper of snow on the roof.  The jabbering of a blue jay at the tree next door.  A songbird’s hopeful trill.  The electric green of a lawn.  A spider’s ash-white web.  Humming of a solitary bumble bee.  The brush of Santa Ana’s wind.  Each piece must be examined, then fit into its place of belonging.  Only then can you complete the thing and only then will you have the result.

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