Nuances is just one of my favorite words. Don't know why. Kinda weird to have a favorite word, huh?
Those memories one would put in that Jim Croce bottle from his song, "Time in a Bottle".
"If I could save time in a bottle..." The rest of the lyrics don't quite fit what I'm trying to express, but the mood of the song does.
Whenever I've experienced something very special...a moment with Gordon, a moment of creativity, one of those frequent experience that demonstrates God's protection...I've thought about the Jim Croce song.
I've purposely saved that moment, those emotions, those visual images, smells or tastes and have put them in my figurative Time Bottle to be able to play again like a video clip...a video clip with the added senses of taste, touch, smell and emotion..
This year has been all about reconnecting with those saved moments. These pictures represent just two of hundreds of tiny moments that fill the Time Bottle of my life.
This jar of gardenia cuttings that have sprouted roots in our kitchen windowsill brings back the many times I looked at Grandma's array of cuttings rooting in the two windows of her bathroom.
I remember vividly that the sun shone through the yellowed water, illuminating the white roots. I was fascinated as a child by her green thumb, and I tried to absorb every trick she told me about rooting cuttings.
I can just pull out of my Time Bottle the saved nuances of taking a bath in Grandma's huge cast iron tub, looking up at the dozen or so pint jars of rooting flowering shrubs. I can feel the texture of the worn tub, smell the towels and the Ivory soap, hear the water from the pipes that sang and the faucets that squeaked. I can even feel the sunshine on my back from one of those windows.
Grandma died in 1979, and the family and our life changed forever. Now she is with me every time I use one of her cast iron skillets or look at the two pint jars of gardenia cuttings rooting in the kitchen windowsill. My memories of her are as integral and penetrating to who I am today as these roots that will burrow into soil and feed a future gardenia plant, nourishing it to bloom.
The second picture is of Unc. He and I started a jigsaw puzzle last week. He saw me playing with a computerized jigsaw puzzle, and I realized that he was missing the time we have shared over the years, putting together jigsaw puzzles.
Another memory in my bottle. I can feel the heat of the wood fireplace at Grandma's house while Unc and I put together a jigsaw puzzle on a folding card table in the living room. Grandma was in her chair by the fireplace watching us, laughing quietly at our prattle.
Then when I moved back to the family farm in 1991, Unc and I started a new jigsaw puzzle just before Christmas each year, after all my porcelain orders had been filled. This time it was Mama sitting in her comfy chair laughing at our prattle.
Last week, as we opened the box of a puzzle we had put together before, this Noah's Ark puzzle, Unc used the same phrases he has used for every puzzle we have assembled together.
"Don't pick out one with too many pieces."
"I think you put two puzzles in this box! There are too many pieces for just this puzzle."
"Don't take it apart...we need all the help we can get!"
"I found a corner!"
Our methods remain the same, after 40-plus years of assembling jigsaw puzzles together. I pull out the edge pieces first. Unc turns over the pieces and pulls out the edge pieces as he goes. Then the daily search for pieces that fall onto the floor or get picked up or chewed on by a pet. Sharing the box top to reference the photo as we work on our respective areas of assembly.
"I need HELP on this puzzle," his lure to get me to come work on the puzzle.
"I'm putting together more of this puzzle than you are," another lure to get me to come work on the jigsaw.
Unc is 83 years old. I must save these moments in my Time Bottle, because this may be the last jigsaw puzzle we ever put together...together. Unc is in fantastic health for a man 20 years younger, but none of us is promised tomorrow.
So every day, I try to save a good memory in my bottle. This entire year has been about appreciating, revisiting, reconnecting with the nuances that comprise the happy memories in my Time Bottle.