As my constant companion watches over with a keen eye, I slip the last colourful, randomly shaped piece of cardboard into the round, abstract work of art. A great sense of satisfaction and completion envelops me, as I document the occasion with my camera. A certain furry friend joins in the celebration.
In the fall of 2020, as many of us hunkered down for our first full pandemic winter, I pondered jumping into the world of puzzles, which seemed to rival the sourdough revolution in its popularity.
A lovely friend even sent me a stunning circular puzzle for my birthday. Which… proceeded to sit in my closet. Later it relocated to my new place, where it sat in another, albeit nicer, closet.
My life forged ahead, puzzle-less… until, nearly three years into the pandemic, the virus finally caught up with me. While recovering, I was inspired to start the puzzle. If my body had finally given out and let covid in, I might as well tackle the puzzle at last. It was time.
I figured I’d either love or hate puzzling. I tend to be like that with things – and in this case, I ended up really enjoying it… even though I started with a doozy of an abstract work of art for my first go around, and it took me about three weeks to finish!
I found the process meditative and relaxing, allowing my too-busy, always-thinking anxious brain a temporary respite from its ruminating. It also was satisfyingly cut-and-dried. The pieces either fit or they didn’t – no shades of grey to agonize over and ponder endlessly. And when the puzzle was done, it was clearly done: no ambiguity to dwell on and try to interpret.
Some have asked whether it was tricky to do a puzzle in a home shared with a cat. But Miss Sophie was remarkably restrained and disciplined. A full two weeks went by with her carefully observing my movements before she could no longer resist temptation and gently knocked a single piece off the table. Her slow-motion destruction was gentle and subtle, and I never found more than a couple of pieces on the ground each morning.
After the inaugural puzzle was completed, the friend who’d started me on this journey lent me another, this one fortuitously showcasing a work of art by someone I admire. It was much easier than the round one, and I whipped through it in less than a week.
I’m hoping this is a sign that 2023 will be at least a little less rough than the past year’s been, for me.
Wishing a wonderful New Year to all, and hoping it brings you all that you desire.