Over the years Mike has asked me many variations of the same question. “Ange, why are there…? The beginning is usually the same, but the ending varies greatly. Recently he asked, “Ange, why are there egg shells sitting on the windowsill?” The answer is simple (and seems obvious to me). I had an idea I could make paint bombs with them. See, once I say it, it seems obvious. Right? Wait… It doesn’t?
Okay – here’s the skinny on egg shell paint bombs: you carefully cut off a small part of one end of an egg and then dump the guts into your pan, pot, or whatever you mean to use it for. Then you rinse the shell and set it on the windowsill to dry out. (Now you see why they were on the windowsill – obvious right?) Once they are dry and you have enough, you fill them with water base temper paint, go outside, and have an egg shell bomb paint fight. Tada!
Here’s another one: “Ange, why is there a really big box of busted light bulbs and a huge mound of dirt sitting on the dining room table?” Now, I know you can figure this one out… no? They are perfect for making terrariums. Take out the guts of the bulb, add dirt, a few semi-aquatic plants, and voila! Instant terrarium.
I have an innate need to find the perfect use for each item I see. I collect both ordinary and unusual items thinking that they must have a purpose that hasn’t yet become obvious. A box of shells, a shelf of bottles, a basket of rocks, a wine carafe of marbles, small bowls, a light up weeble-wobble (I think this one could become a Minion), a slinky, silly putty that changes color in UV light, clamps of all sizes, small boxes, small bottles, broken colored glass, and on and on and on. Each one gathered with a thought that somehow it will become the perfect thing to finish that project. My co-workers used to say that I have a Master’s Degree in using ordinary items in extraordinary ways. Unfortunately, this also means I have a house cluttered with all the little bits and bobs that I haven’t yet found that perfect use for, but I just know I will.
Life is like this too. I have recently found myself a victim of “reorganization” (which is a fancy way of saying they walked my entire department out of the building), and I find myself looking at the bits and bobs of my life. I wanted to be in fish and wildlife management; I have an English degree; I taught special education; I camp; I waited tables; I made custom clothing and costumes; I take in abandoned animals; I altered wedding gowns; I am an artist; I managed, wrote, taught, learned, stretched, grew, fell, climbed, and stumbled my way to where I am now. And I am proud of who I am. I am beautiful and I am imperfect. But somehow these pieces (and the nine hundred and eighty-seven others) will fit together to make something new. It too will be beautiful. And it too will be imperfect. Some pieces will have to be discarded and some modified to fit just right. And I will stutter, and stammer, and be afraid. But I will also fly, and soar, and find the perfect use for that one thing in my life that I didn’t think was important, but I kept – just in case.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Don’t go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Scary? Yes. Can I do it? I have no idea – yet. Somewhere in the odds and ends of who I am is the perfect combination items needed to build that new project – me. I just have to figure out which windowsill they are sitting on.