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Thursday, July 01, 2010

It's a puzzle

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Friday we are away to the lake cottage for the weekend, Family Reunion #2. I don't fish for fish. I fish for jigsaw puzzle pieces. Well I haven't done that in a while, so I think I'll pull down one of the boxed puzzles from the tall stack at the top of the linen closet, spread the hundreds of picture fragments out on a card table in a corner of the living room, and corral them into something whole. Others can stop and sit and search for a piece too, through the hours of the weekend, between intervals of swimming, fishing for fish, boat-riding, eating, talking, playing guitar, singing, drinking coffee on the screen porch, playing cards, roasting marshmallows around the deck fireplace, watching fireworks bloom in the black sky above the lake, and sleeping.

This 4th of July it is difficult to find something to celebrate nationally. It's even tough to believe any more that working on one piece at a time will accomplish anything. A jigsaw puzzle this 4th of July is a prayer, that it is still possible to reassemble broken pieces into something whole. As Lovely You at the good in you powerfully said in her post on lemons & limes, The 7-Up Lesson, the sour side of life is essential to transformation. As I connect the pieces in my jigsaw prayer, I will meditate on how the broken is also part of the whole.

If you live in the U.S., enjoy the long holiday weekend. If you are outside of the U.S. and a citizen of another country, or an American abroad, please accept a humble American's heartfelt wishes for a wonderful weekend. I like thinking that I have connected with you out there, and we help make the world more whole, like puzzle pieces, together.




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58 comments:

ellen abbott said...

Oh, I know what you mean. This country is so broken. And the sad thing is that anyone who wants to put it back together, who is willing to listen and try to work together is quickly made ineffective by both sides. This country doesn't really want to mend it, to blend the two halves, to put the pieces back together. What we, the left and the right, want is to obliterate the other, opposing, side and have it our way. Remove half the picture and pretend it's whole. So much energy expended on hatefulness and hypocrisy.

On a lighter note...I love jigsaw puzzles and have one spread out on my table now. Harder than it looks, than I thought it would be. Too hard for my two puzzle working g'girls to get interested in, to help me with.

Gwei Mui said...

Ruth, I love the pictures especially the last one.
I have to agree with Ellen - even though Ellen is talking about the US the exact same thing can be said of the UK. I hope. I'm still waiting for "the big conversation" to happen.

Babs-beetle said...

I think possibly, the whole world is broken. Our country certainly is. I pray that it can be slowly put back together again, better than it was before. We live in hope.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend :)

lovely you said...

Ruth, when I saw that you referenced my blog, I actually gasped and said, "Oh, no!" The thought of people actually reading my blog brings my inner Piglet out. Oh, dear, d-d-d-dear, dear. But, now that I have collected myself, I appreciate the nod. And collected or not, I appreciate You more than I can say. May you find joy in making things whole, this weekend and always.

ds said...

You have become an important piece in the puzzle of my life, my friend. Enjoy a lovely peaceful (piece-full?) weekend among family beside that gorgeous lake.

Terresa said...

So many things are broken and messed up...I like the quote from The 7-Up Lesson, if life hands you lemons, paint it gold. Well put, that's a keeper phrase.

Happy 4th of July weekend! {We are going to light our stash of fireworks, swim and barbeque with the family.}

C.M. Jackson said...

Ruth--as always---so perfect --photos are lovely --enjoy the weekend-c

Oliag said...

Those misty, foggy, calm early morning lake photos are beautiful Ruth. Just looking at them will put one at peace and it is no wonder that many like to get up early and go fishing...an excuse to take in this beauty.

Jigsaw puzzles are so much fun when there are a group of people to work on them!...last Christmas my family all gathered around a puzzle which was finished in record time...

I have hope that our country will recover from its present problems...Every generation has had its problems to live with and yet later it would be said "Remember the good old days"...So I will be celebrating that spirit in many of us that will heal the ills and make us stronger...I'm not making myself terribly clear but I do feel that the country's strengths will prevail...

Have a wonderful weekend and a happy, celebratory 4th!

Lorenzo said...

I, too, share the feeling voiced by you and echoed by so many that the world is somehow broken, a disassembled puzzle with missing pieces. But I wonder if this feeling reflects a misperception of the past more than insight into our present troubled moments. After all, for all the economic problems, environmental disasters, wars and poverty that now trouble humanity, we cannot say they are worse than in bygone eras (with the exception of environmental degradation).

Either way, in good times or bad, times of despair or exhilaration, a weekend with the family at the cottage on the lake you describe and picture has to be wonderful. I hope you enjoy it to the fullest (pretty sure you will).

I enjoyed the link to Lovely You's blog.

Grandmother said...

As an American living abroad and having a more distant perspective, I believe surely we are the world, we are the puzzle pieces, we are the whole separated but able to come together. As we get over our differences and gather together as one people for the betterment of all, we become whole. Thoughtful post. Thanks.

Ginnie said...

This is such a good metaphor, Ruth, (I hope that's the right word) for this weekend. I'm such a lover of jigsaw puzzles and will want to work on your puzzle with you. Please take a picture of it, beginning, middle and end. I have always liked the symbolism of Life being like working on jigsaw puzzles without having seen the finished picture on the cover. In the beginning you find the border pieces and get the structure under control. Things start making sense around mid-life (which I assume is why many go through crisis) and then towards the end, the pieces almost fly into place. And when that last piece is put in, that sense of accomplishment! If we can do that with Life, can we "see" it with countries?

Enjoy the holiday weekend. I have a tear in my eye knowing I'll miss y'all!

George said...

A beautiful and thoughtful posting, Ruth. We do, indeed, live in sad times, and it is hard to find any semblance of hope in this world of greed and narcissism. One by one, however -- or piece by piece, to use your metaphor -- we can make a difference. Connecting throughout the world on our blogs is one way to make such a difference.

Anet said...

Photos are picture perfect.
Enjoy the family and your long weekend!

Jeanie said...

What a wonderful way to think of it -- making a world together, pulling together the puzzle. I love puzzles -- and isn't the lake the best place for them? Where everyone can chip in at a moment's notice, become as involved (or not) as they choose.

Yes, it does seem like it's not our most glorious and enthusiastic of July Fourths, but I look forward to being mellow for a change, accomplishing a good number of tasks and goals (the ones I put on my blog -- I expect you to hold me accountable!) and having some time to meditate and write along the way. Unless the wi-fi fairy moved to the lake, the trips to the library will be a deterrent from living online!

I will say, sticking to the puzzle metaphor, that our blog buddies are like a grand puzzle as well -- sharing all the things we do so openly is like "seeing the picture on the box" but realizing that behind that tree or around the corner that just doesn't show up on the photo is something of great depth and beauty. The blog helps us put together the puzzles, and each time I "read" you, I know you better and better and like what I know!

Have fun, relax, celebrate!

Deslilas said...

Golden age has never been before us, it has to be built if we're able to puzzle it out and work together for it!

Pat said...

I think it's a brilliant idea to bring the jig saw puzzle to the reunion to give people some quiet time or for some one on one or small gatherings.

I have faith in human kind and pray that the world will be whole again.

Love the photos!

Have a great weekend!

♥ Kathy said...

I hope you have a great weekend too Ruth ♥

Elizabeth said...

Wishing you a most cheering and refreshing weekend at the lake with your family.
I am torn between despair at the larger picture and joy at the small miracles I see and feel every day.
This world has always been a pretty difficult place for so many people.
I get pretty sad at the way governments work or don't work......
anyway Happy 4th!

cathyswatercolors said...

Rats,I don't think my last comment posted. So
enjoy your weekend. Getting it all back together. Long summer days wonderful.

July meeting sounds swell...A2 is perfect!

The Bug said...

Dr. M & I are at Lake Erie this weekend - spent the day on Kelly's Island. I was eyeing the jigsaw puzzles in the island museum gift shop - the Lighthouses of the Lakes or the Shipwrecks of the Lakes. I LOVE to work puzzles, but sadly can't seem to find a place to work one lately. I think that the shipwreck one might be appropriate these days...

Doreen said...

Hello Ruth,
So well said...I too am a believer that this country is so broken right now. However, as Americans always do, we have to stick together and help our neighbors. That's what makes us so strong. I think over the last 10 years or so we have lost some of our unity. Come visit my blog and my latest post and leave a comment. I'd love to hear your voice. I'm also inviting everyone that followers your blog to come visit as well. I love hearing others thoughts, feelings and opinions. Chat with you soon...

Bella Rum said...

It's true. This is a very tough time for our country. I think we all know someone who has been affected by the events of the past few years. The analogy of making the puzzle whole is apt.

We took a puzzle with us on our last beach vacation. It's so relaxing. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Happy Independence Day to you and yours!

Pauline said...

Well now, you see? Through this thoughtful post I found another - you are putting puzzle pieces together all over the place and in many ways. Have a marvelous weekend and thanks for being the puzzle -put-er together sort.

Kate said...

Ruth, what an inspiration you are to me. I've been reading here for a couple of months, and I am more and more drawn to the energy here.

Thanks especially for today's post and for the link to Lovely You. And for showing up here so authentically.
May the weekend bring you warmth and peace.

Deborah said...

Ruth, I almost didn't want to go beyond the top photo, so stunningly beautiful it is. You are an incredibly talented photographer.

I almost envy you your weekend. It sounds wonderful in all ways, and I wish you much enjoyment of it.

Susan said...

A jigsaw prayer...I like that. You are always so in tune, Ruthie, like a fine instrument very delicately played. Thank you for the hope. Happy Independence Day.

Vagabonde said...

I hope you are enjoying your 4th July week-end. Your post is very nice and your pictures too.
Yesterday I placed an update on my laptop and somehow it slowed it so much that I could not even open my email or my blog. I tried to find a solution and kept at it until 3:00 am, so this morning I was late watching the Tour de France and missed the Peachtree Road race on TV. I kept working on my laptop until this afternoon when my daughter somehow took the update off and the laptop is working again. While she worked on it (from a distance) I made up a recipe with some red peppers I had bought. I took photos as I went along in case the recipe turned good and I could make a post on it. It was good. When I took the final picture, the red pepper stir fry with rice on the side on my blue napkin made me realize that without knowing it I had created a red white and blue theme. I thought this was a lucky omen and the symbol is there – everything will be all right in the long run.

rauf said...

its not a puzzle for me Ruth. i see it every day. A tough looking guy occupies a seat meant for four people and makes himself comfortable in the train. Others stand and watch and do nothing. Out of fear no one wants to protest. i have also seen that one man picks up the courage and tells the tough guy to get up and others join him and throw the tough guy out of the train. Fearing their own survival, people prefer to bear suffering and injustice hoping that God would give them a comfortable seat one day. That is a trick. But God helps the tough guy here, promising comfort to others after the journey.
We have been cheated for thousands of years Ruth.

i walked over to 'lovely You' blog.
Happy 4th of July. There are a few pleasant things around like your stunning picture Ruth.

rauf said...

i am glad that the fog is beginning to lift and we have just started to see things clearly.

Ruth said...

Ellen, we down here in the stands, the citizens being divided up by somebody near the top, don't have much say about anything. I don't know, but I have to get some way of seeing things that lets me find peace in the middle of the pain and chaos.

Puzzles are good practice in momentary longing, with a long term goal. Finding even one piece that fits is satisfying.

Ruth said...

Gwei Mui, humans are incredibly resilient!

Ruth said...

Babs, sometimes patch-up jobs hold better than the original. I don't know, I just don't know.

But I hope too!

Ruth said...

Lovely Tracy, well from my email you know I was horrified that I set that shock upon you. But I'm glad you recovered all right. I should have asked, or at least warned you! I really just want to share the beauty of how you see things. It doesn't seem right to keep you all to myself.

Ruth said...

DS, thank you. It was a weekend when peace was needful.

Ruth said...

Hi, Terresa, we're back now, and I did not witness any fireworks, for the first year ever. I went to bed early, and we didn't have our own family stash since my sister no longer lives in Atlanta. She used to stop and pick them up in Tennessee.

I hope yours was fun.

Ruth said...

C.S., thank you so much. The weather at the lake was perfect.

Ruth said...

Oliag, you and Lorenzo said it, and others, that we have always had terrible problems. Humans keep recovering with ingenious methods. Also, we know so much more now than ever before, and I often feel that this does us no service. As much as I love information at my googling fingertips, I also want to shut out the overload.

Ruth said...

Lorenzo, I know. Things were actually much worse before, when millions died from plagues and other disasters. The 20th century was a terrifying one, with men discovering new and brilliant ways to destroy humans in their boundary disputes. Maybe it seems that all these things are accelerating, or maybe it's just that we know so much more, more quickly, and we don't have the capacity to absorb it, or fix it.

The weekend had some healing moments, and I'm grateful.

Ruth said...

Grandmother, your post was spot on, and your comment here. I see in myself the ugly tendency to separate myself from other individuals and focus on our differences. That's no different than the national and global problems that are focused on how we are incompatible.

Ruth said...

Boots, I wish you could have worked the puzzle with us too. Nancy did a lot, and Sydney and Casey, and Rodger. Some of them are still there today, so maybe they got quite a bit done. It was only about 1/4 done when we left yesterday.

You are going to cross over borders this week on vacation. Funny how the line between Netherlands and France is not visible when you're driving in Granny Towanda.

Ruth said...

George, it makes me supremely happy to meet people like you here, in this space. It keeps motivating and inspiring me to connect, just connect. We are one, so much more than we tend to recognize.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Anet. And Happy Birthday to Brad!

Ruth said...

It's true, Jeanie, when you show me you, and I show you me, we learn more about each other and ourselves. And the world.

I hope your vacation is the best, and that you feel rejuvenated.

Ruth said...

Daniel, we can turn that s**t to gold.

Ruth said...

Pat, I'm glad you have faith. Me too. I think as things get worse, people will help each other more, and rely on one another too. I hope so.

We have two big stacks of jigsaw puzzles at the cottage, I found out they were moved from the linen closet to a bookcase. I had fun looking for the one I picked . . .

Ruth said...

Thank you, ♥ Kathy, I hope you and your family had a wonderful weekend too.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Elizabeth. One thing I like about blogs is how I get to see real people in real places. We pick and choose what we share of ourselves, but it is more real than most of what is in the media.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend too.

Ruth said...

Ok, Cathy, I'll be in touch!

Ruth said...

Dana, putting a shipwreck puzzle together would feel good. Reminds me of the shipwreck I dove off in Brindisi, Italy, what a foolish teenager I was . . .

Ruth said...

Hi, Doreen. I wish you well in your business ventures.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Bella. I think we need to keep looking for what is good and advertise it.

Ruth said...

Pauline -- yay! I love connecting bloggers. I am so moved by Tracy/Lovely You, that I am tickled you found her now.

Ruth said...

Hello and welcome, Kate. It's a good day that you came here. I'm glad you came out of the shadows. I look forward to reading more of your very thoughtful mind.

Ruth said...

Oh, thank you, Deborah. Some scenes it's hard to take a bad picture. I think our lake in the morning is like that. But thank you all the same for your kind words.

I'll write about the weekend soon.

Ruth said...

Thank you, dear Susie, but the truth is, I find this blogging thing helps get me centered.

Ruth said...

Vagabonde, your story reveals your soul, and I connect with the power that you speak from. You have a very strong spirit. I believe you.

Ruth said...

You're right, rauf, there's nothing new under the sun. Human nature keeps defeating us, and keeps rescuing us. Have you ever thought about who you would want to be stranded with, if you had to be stranded on a desert island? I wonder how long I would survive, not knowing much about anything important, like what plants are edible, how to find good water, things like that.

VaNeSsA said...

I don't have the heart or energy to address the heartbreak of America right now, but I wanted to tell you, as others have, that the last photo in this post is breathtaking.