by Nic Olson

A French woman rode the Metro with a stack of papers. The one on top had a grid on it, half of the boxes filled with certain shapes from the strokes of her pencil, the other half yet to be touched. She followed a code in her head, and I decoded her code to see that she was designing a portrait, like a cross-stitch guide would look like. Square by square, she was designing, shading, planning the face of Albert Einstein. You could tell by the hair. Like a Colour-by-number book, she sat patiently, peering through French glasses, to X, circle and pencil in each 3 millimeter square to eventually prove the face of Albert Einstein.

A square by square scratch of lead or graphite in the goal of discovering or revealing or uncovering the end snapshot. Out of the lines, with varied darknesses depending on the tool used and the stress applied. A process, pure and simple, murky and complex, dark and bright, all depending on the day, or the location of the box. Life is beautiful when it can be analogized as such.

But when it can’t be it is whorish and rough. Philosophically void, spiritually null. Just a series of circumstances that lead to wealth or poverty, happiness or depression. Without cause or without metaphor. The days that lack said vision are called life. The days that are swimming in analogies can be related with the idea called heaven that we have been taught about, or can possibly be completely characterized as such. It is easy to string together an insignificant life when each day is not a square categorized by the stroke of a pencil: a part in discovering the greater whole. It is this that I call life. What is far more difficult, making it much more necessary, is to find the next step up. What is far more difficult is an eye for that daily metro rider sketching the face of an historical figure, square by square, and dwelling in the genius of the parallels it represents.