My Blue Kazoo Earth puzzle sits behind me on a shelf. Surrounded by books and Funko Pop figures that I should’ve outgrown by now, it peers down at me with disapproving eyes.
(“Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth’s gravitational pull?”)
It haunts me on every Zoom meeting. I see it on my camera, peering at me, mocking me from on high. I know my co-workers see it too and they don’t have the heart to ask me why a single tear rolls down my cheek on every call.
Just a week ago, I completed the Starry Wave and that was all kinds of hellacious. I still wake up in cold sweats. Studying brush strokes is a skill unto itself and for more times than I’d like to admit I would look at my dog, Baxter, and say, “This piece DOES NOT EXIST on the poster!” only to find it a few minutes later (I never told him I found it, I didn’t want him to think less of me). There were most definitely times when I felt that my zen had left me.
But, I persevered and eventually conquered that fine little puzzle. It still sits on the cork board in my living room, propped up in the corner where I can see it and admire it every now and then.
That admiration has now quickly turned to something else. Every puzzler knows you can never have enough, and I can feel the call of the next one beckoning me.
The Earth has to be it.
There’s something about the Earth puzzle that I just can’t figure out. It looks so peaceful, with the clouds almost floating serenely above the surface, the land masses adding colour to the various ocean blues against the stark loneliness on the white background of the box.
Maybe I’m thinking about it too much. It’s just a damn puzzle, right? I shouldn't be having an existential crisis when all I'm doing is essentially putting a picture back together.
(These are my feelings towards our Earth puzzle if I was an astronaut.)
I think this sense of “something greater“ is what drew me to the Starry Wave though. It’s definitely my favourite of the Blue Kazoo bunch. The strikingly similar European and Japanese styles work so well together and make it feel like more than just a puzzle. It is most certainly a work of art (two in fact!) and also a great source of meditation. The artwork forces you to focus on so much blue and the finer details in the hairs of the brush.
The Earth is cut from the same cloth. Whilst it IS just a puzzle, (of which there are endless iterations, patterns, and styles), it’s also an experience; a reminder of who we are and our place in the universe. And who am I to begin such an undertaking in putting this philosophical behemoth together?
I’ll start it eventually. In fact, I’m going to start it this weekend. I’ve said it now, I’ve put it out into the universe (such word play!). I’ll make sure Baxter is near me to provide reassurance when I start to get lost in what it all means and how insignificant everything is.
After all, it’s just a puzzle, right?