Jenn (Mommy Needs Coffee) has a thoughtful post up today about Shattered Vases. An antique, one-of-a-kind, absolutely irreplaceable vase smacks the floor with a crash and no matter how many hours you spend searching, sweeping, and gluing, the vase has a hole that can’t be repaired. And what if *you* are the vase? My answer was (I hope) pithy…
If you need to use the vase, you slap a piece of duct tape on both sides of the holes and turn that side to the wall.
Conversely, you can take the shattered pieces of the vase, shatter them further, and use them to make a mosaic tile or plate. Then it will have a different function, but still be beautiful AND remind you of what was.
When you’ve had the wind knocked out of you, the instinct is to curl up into a ball and protect the rest of your body. The absolute last thing that you want to do (stand up straight) is the very thing that you MUST do to breathe again.
I can answer that way, because I was/am that vase. My move to Florida was the duct-tape repair, my move back to NC was the beginning of the mosaic tile. My perpetual WIP (work in progress). I like to pull the tile out and run my fingers over the surface, remembering how THIS crack was made and how jagged that edge was and how painful the wound was when I picked that piece up and gouged myself. There are still times when the ground shakes in my little world, and I pick the tile up and hold it close, protecting it and myself.
There were many times…there ARE many times when I wish there were someone here to help me complete the mosaic. It’s difficult work and time consuming. I have to stop working on it and attend to other things. Having someone else working on it would not only mean an earlier completion, but that my work would be less lonely.
The hardest part is taking a hammer to a large piece. It’s beautiful, and the pattern is still so vibrant in places – but shatter it I must, to fit it in the mosaic. Gently tapping, hoping there are no faults in the ceramic or hairline cracks through it, I do my best to preserve the pattern. It is these times when I’m glad I’m alone in this project. There’s no-one to blame but myself if it doesn’t turn out the way I wanted and expected it to. There’s no-one to take the credit if it turns out beautifully.
I wonder what to do with the smallest pieces. The anonymous specks of dust and sharp but blank shards of myself. Can I, SHOULD I do anything with these? They can always be mixed into the mortar, but would that inherently weaken the finished piece? I save them, will continue to save them, and hopefully an idea will strike, or a new method of binding them together will appear. It seems superfluous to hold onto them when I have so.many.pieces to work with, I know. Chalk it up to my “don’t throw that away, you might need it” upbringing.
Jenn also says:
As many times as I have been knocked down, beaten down and broken, never have I been shattered to a point where I can’t find a way to brush myself off. Partly because I have wanted to get through and move forward. What do you do when all you want to be is that damn vase before it shattered? What happens when you just cannot stop longing to be that pre-destroyed vase? What do you do when you know you can no longer be that damn vase because that piece is never, ever coming back to make it all work and for the love of god you don’t want to be anything else but that old vase? Forget new purpose and new meaning. You want the original to work.
And it doesn’t.
I have pictures…I look at them and remember. Love and pain. Keening loss. Betrayal. Joy. I look more closely at the pictures, and I can see cracks in the vase that I didn’t notice at the time. Wishing that things had been differently, wondering how the vase got off the shelf in the first place. Knowing that the original was functional, but it can be made better, stronger.
They say that hindsight is 20/20, but what they don’t tell you is that you’re looking at it through the dewy star-lens of time – so it’s not REALLY clear sight.