Un Rompecabezas

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. Thomas Edison

Puzzle PiecesOne of the beautiful things about being in a foreign country and learning a new language is that you can’t avoid having the refraction of your prism altered. This morning’s ‘word of the day’ and one of its examples from my SpanishDict cast such a light – un rompecabezas meaning a puzzle. The example, Me tardé horas en armar un rompecabezas al que le faltaba una pieza, translates, ‘I spent hours putting together a jigsaw puzzle that was missing a piece.’ Two unintentional things happened in the moment. I was struck by the poetic nature of the word and how it seemed to reflect something not quite put together. But then it was the example that wouldn’t let go – the fact of all that time and effort to discover a piece was missing.

Pillars of Creation NASAPutting the pieces of a puzzle together is a lot like connecting the dots in a creative exercise. There are clues to what is there to be worked with but never the knowledge that there might be a missing piece. It brings to mind one of my favorite adages, we can’t see what we can’t see. That applies to both things that might be obvious to other and things that are absent from the known landscape. The challenge for the creator is that the missing piece, or pieces, may not be apparent until the puzzle is well advanced in its construction. The mark of the artistic genius is that it’s all about dealing with the missing piece.

I would propose that in the universe there are no missing pieces – only those yet to be discovered or created.

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