Making History

The Universe insists that, as Paul Simon once sang, “everything put together falls apart”. That universal policeman Entropy ensures that this happens and it is only with a bribe of energy in the right place that you can reverse the process.

Take recycling plastic: you can only ever produce weaker and weaker plastic (unless the bribe is REALLY big, which defeats the object) as you recycle. The long molecular chains of purest plastic (it’s on the periodic table, if you know where to look*) just keep going to (ever smaller) pieces at every stage.

Of course, recycling things isn’t the only way of reducing stuff to smaller units of, well, stuff. Take utter clumsiness, for example. Utter clumsiness and a breakable object like, say, I don’t know, the bowl I inherited from my Dad. It wasn’t that remarkable, at least I don’t think it was, but it was a lovely metallic purple and blue colour and fitted three Weetabix** and hot milk just perfectly. It was the first thing of his I was given the day I arrived for his funeral.

It had a history, of course, everything does. No one seemed to know what that history was though. Information such as where the bowl had been made, where Dad acquired it, or even whether he liked it enough to have his breakfast cereal of choice in was lost to time. Now I had it, I continued its history – albeit by filling it with hot cow juice and soggy wheat.

Entropy = My Clumsiness2

OK, it doesn’t but in a proper Universe, it would. One day, about seven months ago, I broke the bowl. I can’t remember exactly what happened but it was empty, waiting for breakfast goodies to fill it up, and I think I knocked it with the kettle or my mug or something. Falling with an unremarkable crunch onto the bamboo floor, Entropy cleaned up without actually cleaning up.

I actually cleaned up, putting the six or seven pieces in the bin before being very angry with myself for about two weeks. It felt like it was a re-enactment of the relationship I had had with Dad – difficult and then, just when things were going OK, it suddenly broke and was gone, leaving me annoyed and wanting breakfast (well, not the last bit perhaps).

But something amazing was happening, even before my self-loathing was abating.

The Snail had retrieved the pieces and taken them somewhere else that wasn’t landfill. A new history was beginning… one that involved Entropy being confused because it was given a helping hand. Lily, talented niece of the Snail, broke the pieces into even smaller pieces and created these four amazing mosaics. Isn’t it incredible what can happen when kindness, vision and talent meet up?

I never knew a thing until just after Solstice, when I was presented with the four panels. They are light enough to be hung on a wall; sealed they would make unusual and slightly bumpy mats.

Either way, they have a new history to make.


* And looking here won’t help.

** Other wheat-based breakfast cereals are available but aren’t as good.


Categories: Artist, Sustainable Stuff, Universe | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Making History

  1. A happy outcome – perhaps symbolic of your relationship moving to a new slightly less dense level.? …….. the panels are beautiful! Dr Snail is indeed a wonderful and thoughtful wife!! 🙂


  2. So that’s what they mean when they say what goes round, comes round. The gesture by the Snail was lovely but the way it was done and the talent of your niece must have really pleased you. One thing though, don’t try having your milk and cereal in it now.


  3. I’m just a sneaky snail!


  4. I can sympathise with you Mr Writing Snail. I accidentally broke the mortar that went with my grandmothers mortar and pestle that was the only thing that I had of hers when she died. I, too, had a difficult relationship with my gran. She who “will not be turned!” but that mortar and pestle were her means of turning her home grown herbs and spices into the most interesting and delicious creations…the process of creation excited us both and united us in our steadfast similarity and thus when asked what I would like, I took this humble piece of kit. Well done Ms Snail! I love blue (the colour, not the emotion) and those panels are a delightful use of, and reminder of your dad. They might even be more representative of your relationship, as even though it was often broken, it could be rebuilt to make something beautiful. Kudos to everyone involved and from one person with an infuriating and incomprehensible father to another, heres to the comfort to be found in serendipity 🙂


  5. And you are right…other wheat based containers are NOT the same…


  6. What a wonderful way to keep holding on to something that had meaning for you – and well done to Mrs Snail of Happiness for living up to her credo of life, by getting something new made out of something broken – thus living up to her name and creating happiness for you 🙂 🙂


  7. Pingback: Making History – 2 | writinghouse

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