When you take on the task of making a puzzle, it’s likely that a formerly useless space in your home will adopt the appearance of a busy work station. The table in my kitchen currently resembles the scattered, busy desk of an insane genius. And, on some early-spring evenings when the wind is howling away outside, there are two insane geniuses working away on putting the puzzle pieces together.
Despite the appearance of disorganization, everything about this process of putting a puzzle together feels peaceful and serene. I thought that I would end up standing over the 1,000-piece puzzle of two wolves in a fairy forest with a feeling of stress or perhaps frustration.
Each time that I sit down to work on the puzzle, however, I feel that a different portion of my brain activates and begins to buzz. It’s an interesting study in psychology and behavior. My boyfriend, Mike, constantly refers to the ‘big picture’ image of the puzzle propped up against the wall while he examines each piece. He will also work away steadily at one particular area of the puzzle, patiently defining one black-ruffed wolf ear or one glimmering fairy arm.
In contrast, I can’t stand being settled on one portion of the puzzle for too long. I will restlessly shift my focus from a leaf, to a streak of fur, to an oddly-shaped bit of fairy wing. I put my brain in the backseat and calmly allow my eyes to scan over the individual puzzle pieces, while my hands will test different shapes and colours together to find a potential match.
While my approach is haphazard, I’ve found that it has been successful at the most unexpected times, and for pieces I would never have understood in the context of the ‘big picture’. Mike has brought different elements of the puzzle together by carefully placing potential chunks of image in roughly the correct location.
It’s for the best that there’s a team of two working on this puzzle, as we’ve made greater progress together than we ever would have individually. So as this busy work station starts to look a bit more structured and defined, I am appreciating the benefits of having different mindsets on the task of putting together one big, coherent image from a scattering of incomprehensible little puzzle pieces.