Stepping Back, Looking Closer: Life is Good
By Kathleen S. Volcjak
I was squinting to get the needle through the amber bead so I could slide it down the thread next to the gold ones, when it hit me. A delightful conjunction of realities -okay, wry--but delightful-- formed in my mind and made me grin. Life is good.
Really, what else can be said? A universe that situates the solution to a frustrating side-effect of age and absent-mindedness smack dab in the middle of the bead aisle at A. C. Moore is surely benevolent, and the creature of a benevolent creator.
The first reality: presbyopia. The print is way too small and the lights way too dim. My eyes have betrayed me. I have reached that age where the rods and cones are not as agile as they used to be. I need glasses.
Except, I don't need them all the time, so I put them down, which leads to the second reality. Glasses magnify the print, but they also magnify a slight weakness in my mental faculties. I am embarrassingly absent-minded. I can lose a sheet of paper on my desk in under ten seconds. Glasses? Ha! And not just one pair. Six pairs, according to my daughter (one in the car, one in my purse, one next to the bed, one in my tackle box, etc.)! They always turn up, eventually. Its just that my children and husband are not always around to help them turn up quickly.
I decided I needed one of those chains or strings of beads, the ones that drape gracefully from the earpieces of the glasses of lady librarians in old movies. The ones that allow the spectacles to rest conveniently upon the breast of a lovely cardigan until needed. (It doesn't have to scream 'She's old!' - that can be avoided with taste and creativity. And good posture.)
I like to make things. Why settle for a ready-made, utilitarian solution from the other side of the world when you can fabricate it yourself? ("Because you have boxes of unfinished projects crammed in the closet, something to do with that absent-minded thing?" is not a helpful answer.) A trip to the craft store was in order.
Ah, the bead aisle - aisles, in fact. Bright, shiny, brilliant, enchanting, colors that befuddle the mind. Just the thing. And, as I suspected (craft store customer demographics being what they are), they had the little rubber things to connect the beads to the earpieces. Mine was not an original problem or an original solution.
I am a sucker for cobalt blue and it is hard to find and there were only two left, so I took a skein of those. But blue doesn't go with everything, so I also picked out a nice neutral combination of creamy shells and gold beads accented with amber glass seed beads. The cool, weighty mass of the glass and shell felt like real treasure in my hands.
I made up the blue string first, working an amber bead for every four or five blue ones to give it character.
But laying out the second one, I discovered another change in my vision. The cream, gold and amber are the same colors as the old family china my mother used to use at Thanksgiving and Christmas. The china that, as a child, I thought was really, really ugly. The china that I now really, really like.
A universe with the sense of humor to provide an indulgent solution to a foolish problem. A world that reveals expanded beauty with the passage of time. Yes, life is good.
I wonder what it has to offer on the issue of car keys....