Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Broken Bowl, Broken Heart

On Monday night I was watching TV and knitting swatches for a workshop I’m teaching in January .  My sweet-and-arthritic dog, Toby, jumped up onto the sofa to join me, and in the process she knocked my knitting bowl off the sofa and onto the wood floor.  The bowl broke.

This is not just any bowl.  At least to me.  It was the very first thing I ever bought at an art fair, in the 1970’s while I was a modern dance student in Salt Lake City.  I was a very poor college student, so parting with money for something other than food or clothing or books or dancewear was not easy.

But, I was smitten by the bowl from the first.  I like to be slightly mystified by art, and the glaze on the bowl mystified me.  Were they butterflies?  Angels?  Folded up coats?  Were they connected with a ribbon?  Or a river?  Or the wind?  I loved the colors:  muted, mostly grey, with blues and greens.  Dreamy.

It was a shallow bowl, about 10 inches in diameter and only 4 or 5 inches deep.  Since I bought that bowl, I have moved more than twenty times.  And that bowl has always gone with me.

For many years, I simply admired the bowl.  I hardly ever put anything in it, until I started knitting.  Then I found this bowl to be a perfect knitting accessory.  My yarn would tumble nicely in the bowl, undoing any inadvertent twist I may have added to the yarn while knitting.  And:  I could look at and admire the beauty of the bowl.

Now, I’ve showed this bowl to many people over the years.  And no one has thought it as delightful as I.  This used to disappoint me, but then I came to treasure the bowl even more because I was the only one who thought it was exceptionally beautiful.  My feelings about this bowl were definitely more about me than about the bowl.  And I came to value that.

So, when I watched the bowl fall in slow motion toward the floor, I didn’t think it would break.  After all, the bowl has been with me and remained unscathed for over 30 years.  When it broke, I was stupefied.  I was so shocked that I couldn’t move.  My roommate took pity and swept up the debris.  She suggested I try gluing it back together.

I went to bed, supremely depressed and not a little bit ashamed of myself for having such strong feelings for a thing.  It’s just a bowl.

I did buy super glue yesterday.  Perhaps later today I’ll put the pieces back together.