This is a story about marbles. Three blue marbles, to be exact. Apparently blue marbles are symbolic of Earth. I don’t adhere to the concept of superstitions, but I do like to believe that the world possesses a special kind of magic. Magic, in my mind, is defined as something (a sign, if you will) that allows us to appreciate the beauty of life. So here goes. Marbles.
The first blue marble I discovered was back in December. It was my first time hanging out with a new friend from the language institute where I was learning Chinese. After class one day, my Italian friend and I decided to grab some lunch. As we were walking along a street just like any other in Kaohsiung, I glanced down and lying amongst a mixture of gravel and dust was a sky blue marble. Naturally, I reached down and snatched it up. I just assumed that a child had lost it. Tragic. But . . . with the owner long gone, finders keepers.
Marble #2 was recovered in a very different fashion. To ring in 2017, I joined two Spanish friends for a road trip down to Kenting to soak up some sun and fresh air. After enjoying some snorkeling, we began combing the beach for seashells and sea glass. My fingers delicately examined green, blue, and brown sea glass and uniquely-shaped shells and then as a wave rolled in, along with it came a weathered marble, the color of faded electric blue. I had never found a marble regurgitated by the sea before, so I was pleasantly surprised.
The final marble (so far) that has crossed my path was found about two weeks ago just outside of the classroom in which I teach. Because I teach barefoot, I was removing my shoes to enter the classroom and I saw that one of my slippers had fallen behind the shoe rack. I pulled the rack aside and out rolled a shiny marble the color of lapis.
If I truly wanted to attach meaning to these marbles appearing in my life, perhaps I would say that each is representative of a life stage: #1 of the present, #2 of the past, and #3 of the future–based upon the condition of each marble.
Instead though, perhaps it is this. Another story about marbles: an old woman and her marbles. When I was about ten years old, my Great Meme was beginning to show signs of dementia. She made light of it and regularly proclaimed that she was “losing her marbles.” My mom, being a great lover of crafts and projects, came up with the clever idea that we could help Great Meme find her marbles. Therefore, my mom crocheted a little bag and we filled it to the brim with colorful, new marbles. We presented it to her and all had a good laugh.
Since coming to Taiwan, I’ve been on a personal journey. Along the way, I have felt figuratively as if I had lost my marbles. I met a lot of people in the beginning that disappointed me and made me feel as if I was wrong for trying to seek happiness. I actually felt like I was the “crazy one,” the “negative one.” Eventually I got to the point where I knew I needed to reevaluate my friendships, my lifestyle, and my goals. I literally walked (or rode) away from people and removed myself from monotonous conversations. Eventually, things began to turn around. I welcomed people into my life that inspired me, that lent an ear when I needed it, that enjoyed nature and the simple things, that allowed me to be a meaningful part of their existence. I felt like I was able to love my friends again–and for them to love me in return. And fittingly, all of these marbles have been blue, a common color for a marble, but a color indicative of happiness for me. With the discovery of these marbles, maybe I’m recovering my sanity, piece by piece. Or maybe, they’re just little, blue marbles.