#79 arrived here in central Michigan, having traveled from Washington state across most of North America, with a small chip along the rim. It was just a sliver, actually, almost invisible at first, and the thin, broken pieces were lying at the bottom of the bowl, as if they had been carefully placed there, as if the chip had been deliberate, to give the bowl a sense of what in Japan is called sabi, the bloom of time, weathered beauty. Of course Lynda herself did not chip the bowl, so the next most obvious explanation was rough handling by the postal service – too many boxes, not enough workers, or not enough care. Lynda and I emailed about the chip and the question of insurance. Would the post office pay for the damages? Eventually, after what must have been countless bureaucratic battles between Lynda and USPS, the answer was no. No one to blame, no accountability. But the sense that the chip had been planned, intentional, an aesthetic decision, persisted. So as the chipped bowl sat, flawed and lovely, on the mantle over our fireplace, a variety of home-related mishaps (broken appliances, a flooded basement, a flat tire on the car…) began to form a pattern, first of maddening bad luck, then of loss, and much more gradually, of a sense that things were being cleared out, and a space was being created for something new. An astrologer pointed out that Pluto is transiting the nadir of my birthchart, a clear sign of cosmic spring cleaning that begins in emptying-out, letting go of things that simply don’t matter, and a reminder that what matters is not what we cling to but what we’ve held and released – the mystery of Taurus and Scorpio. The bowl somehow managed to hold all of this for us – the empty feeling, the faint promise of renewal, and the sense that the whole thing was necessary, beautiful, and intentional – Pluto’s gifts…
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