Monday, August 26, 2013

Repost from August, 2011, about how we construct our lives, if we do

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


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.

Photo, with thanks to Solent News and Photo Agency, art by Stan Munro.

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 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.


Timothy Cahill said...
Dear Marylinn, the compost theory of the pyramids is fascinating. Aren't our lives built much the same way, today's experience upon yesterday's, compacted in turn by tomorrow's? Each of us builds our life according to the plans of the architect soul. Soul expands, the architect awakes, and cell by cell, spirit by spirit, a shanty becomes a cathedral.
Penelope said...
It's strange, isn't it, how little grasp we have of the construction we each build and inhabit — we feel we have a much clearer idea of the warm human edifice encountered in the other. And yet — nicely put, Timothy — we trust that it will now and then and increasingly resound with something like praise. Thanks for the thoughtful post, M.
Jayne said...
Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a blueprint? But even so, the process always includes several change orders. I like the toothpick analogy-those little sticks can also be rolled along the ridges of your teeth, augmenting the thought process, giving pondering woody substance and structure.

The question is the answer, isn't it? ;)

(So good to be back here, Marylinn!)
Robert the Skeptic said...
Nice structure but it is merely one building... not to be outdone is the recreation of San Francisco (video here) done by another artist. This one even has a track for ping pong balls to traverse the tooth pick city landscape.
Laoch of Chicago said...
Interesting metaphoric post.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Timothy - Yes, and beautifully stated. Thank you. Keeping the soul fit and engaged, so the work may continue.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Penelope - Thank you. Sometime I think the sentence should be, how little grasp we have. Period. A strange order there is in being mysteries to ourselves.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Jayne - And how likely would most of us be to follow a blueprint. We all do have them, in moral teachings, models of virtue and success, but they don't fit or we resist them or fate delivers unexpected materials. Pulpy pondering, you've come to the right place. Nice to see you back.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Robert - Stan Munro does have structures far beyond the one cathedral, though I don't believe any of them are kinetic. The workings of the human mind and heart...Thanks for the link.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Laoch - Thank you. These synaptical leaps are entities unto themselves. I leave them to tell their own stories.
grrl + dog said...

you are back with the mystery!! Very happy for you as you seemed down for the last few months..

at least your toothpicks have diamonds in them.
Marylinn Kelly said...
Denise - I am certainly here (back?) with the mystery. Don't know that it felt like being down, so much as sober. These are sobering times. Toothpicks with diamonds, that will do just fine. xo


Lisa H said...

Molded in place using composite materials??!!!

HOW did I miss that the FIRST time?!!!

I'll be thinking about that all day and well into the night.
Sometimes I love life.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Lisa - I KNOW! I hope they figure it out in our lifetime. Wouldn't you like to have that information? I find it easy to believe and so much more creative. xo