I love to puzzle. Love. to. puzzle. And when I say I love to puzzle, I mean it in every form: jigsaw, crossword, jumble, search, hours spent "puzzling" what to do with my life. I love the crunkle I feel forming on my forehead as I stare at the pieces, just knowing I know how to put them together, but not really being able to put that knowledge into practice. This winter break allowed me the indulgence of putting together twelve jigsaw puzzles. Twelve, people. I swear I am six going on eighty. There is so much joy to be found in the snuggling together of cardboard, little notches finding their mates, an image pieced together slowly over time. I love that every piece has its place, every piece has a purpose that I methodically discover, matching one curve to another. When life feels scattered and unstable, a jigsaw puzzle brings order and calm. I've got one left in the apartment, one more puzzle before classes and teaching begins again, and I'm trying to wait just a little longer before opening the box and separating the edges; building the border is the beginning of the end. For now, in the break between, I will share a very useful puzzle tip, a tip that is more useful than build the edge first, or work one corner at a time, or buoy yourself with a film in the background:
If you must puzzle, and you are so inclined to become entranced in said puzzling, and you must snack while doing so for fear that you will once again miss a meal, do not, do not, place the popcorn bowl next to the puzzle box. Handful after handful of light, airy popcorn doused with salt will not feel far from the weight of a cardboard puzzle, and you might find, as I did, that a mouth full of the latter absentmindedly placed in the mouth, is not a tasty treat. Otherwise, go forth and puzzle. It might not be fashionable, but it is most delightful.