Time

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Gone are my long, wistful days of winter-spring when all I had to do was work a little bit and play alot, traipsing through my tiny town in my black Bean boots, staring at the wind and the sun’s movements across the landscape.

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Now it is summer and there are flowers everywhere and the grass is green! The air is hot, sometimes, the sun shines bright, and the days fly by. Tomorrow is July 23rd? How is this true? It seems only yesterday it was the beginning of May.

A couple of hours ago, I walked out of the restaurant in which I work, into the darkness of almost-midnight, and felt a chill upon the air. Realizing, in that moment, that summer is halfway over, and that the chill is slowly returning,will be slowly returning as the light begins to leave us again, made me think of how strange it is to live in a place where the weather is so dynamic that as soon as you get used to one feeling in the air, it will change into something completely different.

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My days, at the moment, are spent working at one of three places. I feel so behind on making jewelry!! I feel like time is just slipping out of my hands: there is not enough of it! But oh well, such is the way of the summer. Yesterday I went to an amazing part at the 10 Spot Labs on Islesford and spent the afternoon with friends, sitting in the sunshine and under the shade of fir trees. I walked through a door that was floating in between two trees, I watched a girl skinny-dip in the ocean, I stared at strange fertility sculptures that decorated the hallway leading to a bathroom, I received a lovely compliment from the Compliment Booth, I laid down on a dock in the late evening and fell asleep, surrounded by friends.

Despite its pace, summer is a lovely time, isn’t it?

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A Japanese Puzzle Box

“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde

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A Japanese puzzle box

When I was a young girl of nineteen, I took a trip with my family to England, to move my Grandmother out of her old house and into an assisted living house. She was so excited because she never had to cook again, and I was so excited to listen to old stories and go through old things with her. Her family: uncles and cousins and a brother, traveled on old steamships across the world from the port of Liverpool, always bringing back magical presents from Asia, Africa and Australia to the women sitting and waiting back home.

During that trip, my grandma gave me many things: an old porcelain shell-shaped ashtray, a Depression glass vase, a pressed-glass cigarette container, and a Japanese puzzle box. The box has no discernible openings, no drawers, and is inlaid on one side with birds and flowers, and the other with a mountain scene. Only she knew that if you slide the top panel to the right and the bottom to the left, that you discovered a hidden compartment: a drawer with a tiny button handle, in which you could store whatever you wanted.

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Let us think about dreams for a second, a minute, an hour, a day. Dreams are, for me, what guide my decisions. My heart bends in one direction or another, tied fast to dreams of what life could be, what it could look like if I could realize the wishes and hopes in my mind. My gut tells me what feels right; deep in my body come the yeses and the nos that dictate what I know to be right and true for me.

My dreams, since moving to Maine over one year ago, are to realize, finally, my deepest wishes and desires. My dreams involve turning the looking glass inward and looking at myself, deep into my hazel-green eyes, and allowing my happiness and sadness to flow through me. My dreams are to let go of the control, of the planned future, and instead step into a place where I move through life doing the things that I want to do versus what will make others happy.

Realizing dreams is scary, and painful, and involves a hefty dose of selfishness. Realizing dreams also involves the acknowledgement that others may ask of you a justification, an explanation of behaviors or choices that do not make sense because they break with past patterns. Realizing dreams involves sitting down and having tea with yourself, and saying that the little person inside, the child if you will, has many unexpressed desires and missing pieces that must be delicately crafted.

Maybe life is like a puzzle: those long and sometimes dull games you play with old, wizened aunts who love horse-racing and overly-sugared cakes on rainy days when there is nothing else to do. Maybe you seek the four corners, laying them out carefully on the table, oriented correctly, and after that, you find the edge pieces, and build the frame. And maybe you never really finish the puzzle, but have to be content with searching through the pile of pieces for the next section that will come clear: the flowers, or the sky and its clouds. Maybe the puzzle pieces sit on a small table in the dining room for years and years, and every month or so you find a new piece that fits. And maybe you finish the puzzle, but maybe not. Perhaps the goal of the game is to be happy looking at the tiny pieces and wondering how they all fit together. These are the dreams, I think.

Sweet dreams.

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The Duke of Gems

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“Go outside, clench both hands into fists and holdig your arms straight at your sides, come back inside and show me your left palm.”

I followed instructions to the letter, walking back into the studio on an early summer afternoon, after a long boat ride, a visit to a messy school building, and a conversation with a master puppeteer and stained glass artist. I had spent my morning eating gingerbread and staring at deep purple iris, gazing at the dark blue water and watching the land and the ocean pass by.

In the studio that day were piles of gemstones, both precious and semi-so, laid out on our cases, packed inside plastic bags, stored inside black cases.

The Duke of Gems grasped my left hand and rubbed it with the fingers and thumbs of both hands, and said,

“Who is this guy?”

I said, “excuse me?”

“Who is this guy? Do not commit to this! You don’t know him, he is not here yet. Do not commit to this, for marriage for the sake of it, for the paper, is not right.”

I stood, bewildered. My coworker said, “Do mine!”, and he proceeded to ask if someone was bleeding, sick. She, looking shocked, said, “I am a midwife, what do you mean?” He also mentioned that there was no threat to her father but that he must behave during recovery.

Next he turned to another coworker and asked, “why are you holding on to this? This weight is on your shoulders; it is as if you are diving into the deep water, and are doing it by choice!” She looked sad, explaining her situation, and he told her to stop.

Lastly, he said to our fourth at the studio, “sometimes when you help people this much, you are actually hurting them.”

Then he said, nonchalantly, that sometimes people tell him he is in the wrong profession.

We four, bewildered, continued to siphon through stones, picking out treasures as he continued. He and I spoke in Spanish, he told us about his family, and about the trade in stones. He showed us a $10,000 mystery stone and told us about buying and selling, winning and losing money.

Just before he left, he said to me, “Patience, what are you doing here?” I said that I had been offered a teaching position out on an island and he shook his head. “No,” he said. Then, “you can try it. You can go ahead and try it but it is not what you will do. You need open space, this place is too small, you need the open spaces. I would love to see what you will be doing next time I come, but you will not be here.”

The feeling of mystery continued until he left us almost four hours after he had arrived unannounced, and unknown to any of us. I had an idea to whom he was referring in my case, my coworker continued to counsel her patients and told her father he must behave, and our other two friends made moves to reconcile the emotions that he had voiced for them, too.

The next day he called us said he had been up all night praying for one of us.

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