“You see this goblet?” asks Achaan Chaa, the Thai meditation master. “For me this glass is already broken. I enjoy it; I drink out of it. It holds my water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful patterns. If I should tap it, it has a lovely ring to it. But when I put this glass on the shelf and the wind knocks it over or my elbow brushes it off the table and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ When I understand that the glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious.”

~Mark Epstein, Thoughts Without a Thinker

I really get it.

This is what I found on the kitchen floor when I came home yesterday. Some kind of vibration from the street had caused a shelf to collapse, and over a dozen of my favorite bowls and pitchers lay smashed to smithereens.

Nothing was particularly expensive, but I liked them all. Their weight, texture, and color pleased me. They were the dishes I reached for every day, and they represented hundreds of salads, pies, and bowls of salsa served over the years. They were majolica, yellow-ware, hand-thrown pottery, glass, stoneware. I knew the provenance of every piece – several were wedding gifts, and some we had picked up in Italy and France. It was pretty startling to lose them all in one fell swoop.

John swept the shards into a pile. Mixed with hundreds of toothpicks that had also resided on the shelf, they looked rather arty. Maybe I’ll take the pieces and make some kind of objet d’art out of them, as a memento. I’ll coat them with resin or make a mosaic or something. (Maybe I’ll save them for that purpose and never get around to it.)

We had a good run together, but now they’re gone, or at least transformed. Of course.