Once again I am unsettled by this pesky, seemingly unbreakable habit, thinking about life and wondering of what is it made. Yesterday I knew it wasn't bricks...too large and solid. Legos, especially those 1x1 tiles, would provide a long and either tedious or enjoyable trajectory of construction, similar to building a human existence.
Then I discovered Stan Munro, architect and mayor of Toothpick City.
We, I will say we though my only point of reference is I, wish to see the sturdy, not wobbling towers of our lives rising floor by floor, milestones one atop the other, the random setback appearing only as a few dropped stitches in the sweater's design. The key phrase is "wish to see."
Some scientists have come to believe the pyramids were built, not from stones but from composite material, molded in place as the tombs grew. The matter is still in dispute. Regardless, we, our own monuments to genealogy, family folklore, DNA, experience and imagination, while Wonders of the World by some standards, were not fashioned from rocks of mythic proportion. When I peer, squinting, at my personal timeline, my strata, with periodic scrapings transferred to specimen ziplocks, I find the structure is pure toothpick, growth often imperceptible.
As I experience it, more so as I pay better attention, life evolves one thought, one seed, one moment at a time. With his painstaking, scaled-down recreation of temples, skyscrapers and sailing ships, Mr. Munro reveals a parallel universe in which the process is more easily understood. Slivers, slender renderings from birch logs and glue, lots and lots of glue...it is a day's work, day after day.
There it is: life is a daily, hourly, one-second-to-the-next business. It is our choice whether we approach it with quivering eagerness, apathy or dread. I have begun to see my questions as answers; allowing them to remain questions is pointless. I have actually, and against all expectations, fallen in love with the Mystery.
Before sleep each night, I peel the metaphoric glue from my fingers, check to be sure stray toothpicks aren't stuck to the soles of my feet. Mr. Munro is able to see his progress as the Taj Mahal, the Chrysler Building, grow beneath his hands. The rest of us are left to faith, that what we have wrought invisibly will stand. When I wake, I trust the day will sweep in, tide-like, my next assignment in a secret language spelled by its foam.