Getting to the Cracks


By Matthew Vanderford, Claimology

Matthew VanderfordSpring is upon us and soon the winter’s chill will be just a memory. Earlier this morning I went outside attempting to pause for a moment and enjoy the transition. I heard the birds chirping, the sounds of saws and construction – the sounds of progress well underway. I heard the sounds of planes overhead, the sounds of things dropping from the great heights of beautiful pine trees behind the house, the sounds of nature starting to rebirth itself from its wintery slumber.

As I sat under our trellis to enjoy the slight shade and cool breeze, I noticed that one end of it wasn’t looking the way it did a few months ago. It wasn’t in bad shape, but a little worn and drooping. The outer frame was outlined by a thin wood end cap helping to maintain the shape of the archway. Unfortunately, the weight of the now larger jasmine vines climbing and weaving their way up the sides to the top was adding more weight than I had planned for, causing some of the problem.

I continued to review the trellis to see what else may need repairing. A few more little areas presented themselves in need of attention. While noticing the present condition and the repairs needed to maintain the purpose of the structure, a thought came to me about the importance of winter. The vital nature of what cold does, what it brings, how in the same breath a shot of cold air can deeply invigorate as it enters the lungs but send chills all over the body as it leaves.

The very essence and nature of cold is to change things into a different state, to create change, to demand change, to even force it. It gets rid of the old and makes way for the new. Cold can be violent, or it can be gentle. It can come in a blast of wind or it can float down as snow. I know that’s the reason why I left the northeast – to get out of the 23-degree days and into the less freezing cold days of 55 in Florida. But this year I enjoyed the return of a deeper winter chill and the fact that it still wants to hang around. The cold has become comforting to me in a sense, because cold causes things to crack. And cracked things need a little attention – that’s why they crack. I mean, I’m a little cracked…..a lotta cracked in fact.

There’s a beautiful Japanese tradition which tells the story of what happens to things when they break in life, like a vase. Instead of throwing it away, the tradition is to glue all the pieces together in gold filigree transforming the vessel back into usefulness, with purpose, and beauty. It’s a great reminder for me when I see my cracks in life. With enough care and attention to detail, I too can make cracks amazing. And an even greater reminder as I took notice of the wear and tear Mother Nature has wrought on things built by the hands of men, that these too can be put back together. It may not be the same.
But is it really ever supposed to be?