As 2020 drifts away, so too has my sense of time. My senses cycled through hyperactivity and stupor. The mind grew even more receptive to perceiving portents and meaning in the everyday. Wandering Minneapolis this holiday season, I found within an expanding delight, a pausing pleasure for the twinkling ropes and nets, for the trimmed trees framed in the warm light of a front room, for even the Stay Puft santas and penguins littering lawns. After months of distancing, the intangible filaments of concordance between neighbors were now electrified and radiant in an annual unauthorized public art event open to any citizen, for the citizen. Thus it was decided. With civic spirit I combed thrift stores for the necessary sparkly bobbles for my two street-facing third story windows for the rare passerby who may glance up in the night. Odd, very green pickle ornaments intermittently interrupted my hunt for red and silver. Why a pickle? "Well," I thought, "2020 has been, at the very least, a pickle."
I gathered a handful, intent on creating an heirloom variety to mark this year, a year that held and overwhelmed us. Folks continued to be born, marry and step over milestones like any other year. And not. So much not. It seems imperative that we have some sort of small object we can hold to measure by contrast the immensity of the incomprehensible loss and upheaval--to jar the jarring, in other words. This mysterious glass pickle hit all the notes of my sensitive metaphor-loving palate. It’s with a ruthless sincerity that I offer the pickle as a stellar and steadfast artifact of human ingenuity, resilience and resourcefulness. Our vulnerability to growing seasons, to unknown horizons have long been remedied by pickling. Anything. Everything. By brine, by vinegar, omnipresent tidbits provide unambiguous evidence of our ability to survive, and that we may, with luck and verve, walk through hard dark days sustained long past the abundance of harvest, refreshed by transformation.
So my thoughts were occupied when I reached for the glitter glue. On autopilot, following the spine of the pickle and working left to right, I wrote a silvery “2020”. Only much later, inspecting my small batch of secondhand pickle relics, did I see a hanging ornament would read "NO NO". To be honest, my being clever is generally this unwitting. Topping off my fermenting thoughts, a quick check on Wikipedia exposed this whole pickle “German Tradition” traditional ornament thing is, in fact, a hoax. How 2020.
There's much more to chew over here: on our existential sustenance, on the sour and sweet of life. But I’ll leave that to you, to pick your pickle: "2020" or "NO NO".
Health and good days to you and yours in 2021.
Oh so many thoughts, So many pots So many thoughts on pots.