Whether it was a box of 50 or 50,000 pieces, Jigsaw puzzles always fascinated me. There was an undeniable rush of excitement every time I fit the last piece in place. Piece by boring piece would lie side by side to give me a whole that was beautiful. From cartoons to bridges to renditions of famous paintings, I piled box after box at the back of my closet till there was space for no more. Eventually, one tragic spring cleaning brought with itself the realization that those boxes had to go. They found their place at the bottom of a trash can before they leaped into an abyss of obscurity, never to be seen again.
We scrape and struggle to make our lives happier and more pleasurable. We’ve all done it at some point in our lives. Did you ever catch yourself smiling out of the window in the backseat of a car while recalling how you fell off the canoe that one afternoon with your friends? Or was it an attempt to remember what lead to your best friend scaring the life out of a random passer-by in a spontaneous prank? We scramble – we all scramble to hold onto shreds in our attempts to piece a memory back together. We fear the colors will fade like those on an old Polaroid picture – and with time and age they do. While my puzzles were more tangible and could be reconstructed, memories once lost never return, do they? The only advantage memories have? No storage space required beyond your mind.
I too find myself travel back to better days. What my professors assume to be a concrete expression of sincere attention is the one I don as I attempt to stitch back a web of my own images in my head.
I find myself back by the banks of Bow Falls, its quiet gurgling and sputter drowning out the monotonous tone of my professor. Blue water shimmers under a roof that’s a brighter blue as trees try to peep at us. Used to a much tropical climate, I remember how my hair stands against my jacket as I begin shivering – both with excitement and the cold as I laugh and giggle at the shenanigans we indulge in. I try to stitch back how the water turns from blue to green to deeper blue as the sun shines down on it. I try to place how the shadows of the trees I sit under flicker with the wind and sometimes cast some light on my face. We test the water, we skip pebbles and in that moment we feel no less than invincible. I get tunnel vision as I sit in a class on D.H.Lawrence but find myself miles away in a happier place.
You were right, Wordsworth. I remember all of this and so much more and “my heart with pleasure fills, and dances” to the tunes of the river, along with the trees and the skies in reverie. My picture is complete and no amount of spring cleaning can get rid of it. These memories? They’ll always be there for you.