Friday, May 27, 2011


Originally posted March 20, 2008, edited to reflect what I've learned about writing.

Sometimes you're presented with a metaphor you just can't ignore.

This bowl, the largest of a set of five, was a wedding gift from friends. I loved this bowl.

Over time, the smaller bowls broke. Dropped on a tile floor, knocked off a counter, shattered in the dishwasher as it came into contact with something heavier. With the end of each bowl, came a little twinge.

With no thought to the bowl's welfare, I placed it outside to replace the birdbath bowl that was being repaired. It sat placed precariously on top of the birdbath pedestal and was visited by the sparrows that populated the garden all year long.

I should have known better.

Occasionally, I would check the bowl to make sure it remained steady on the pedestal. Sometimes it wobbled a little so I'd make a few adjustments and all would appear to be fine. The birds had their water and that was what mattered.

In early winter, the water in the bowl froze, but no one noticed.

The bowl, left in the cold to do its duty to the birds and the garden, endured the expansions and contractions of that long winter.

One brisk, sunny day, I went outside to fill the bird feeders and pushed my gloved fingertip against the water in the bowl. No give. Frozen solid. I reached down to lift the bowl and carry it inside.

The bowl crumbled.

I gathered the pieces knowing that I couldn't fix this so it wouldn't show. We discussed gluing the bowl back together, but some small pieces were missing, small but important pieces.

This bowl lay in the garden at the base of the birdbath while I, too, stayed in place.

When I first wrote this, Spring was coming. We'd have a chance to clear away those broken pieces and the garden surrounding it so that something new could grow there.