I went to a foundry this week. That's what you call an operation where metal is melted and poured into various shapes.
Foundries are not, how do you say...clean. They're dark and grimy, and everything has a sort of charcoal pallor. I was careful not to touch anything, and still had a black smudge on my nose before I left.
I'm not opposed to a little dirt. I played in the sandbox last wee--I mean, when I was a child. I will probably have a mudbath someday when my spa budget grows. So although I looked a little out of place in my kitten heels and scarlet button-front shirt, I didn't feel out of place. I was comfortable, safety glasses and all.
Then they opened the furnace, and I saw the liquid aluminum. It was brilliant silver with a warm glow around the edges. Faint variations in the shimmer undulated across the surface.
When the molten medal was poured it was one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a long time. A stream of completely pure, mirror-bright liquid streamed for minutes on end. In the middle of a dingy, gray setting, startling brilliance.
I was transfixed. I wanted it, a piece of that lovely to carry with me. I had to fight the urge to grab a scrap of aluminum off the floor and stuff it in my pocket. Of course that wasn't as pretty as the liquid metal, but it was a small taste of it.
It reminded me of this human experience in the following ways.
Things can seem terribly gray and dull. The dirt is everywhere, and you know, it gets comfortable. What's a little smudge on your face anyway, when everyone around you is in worn out coveralls? Then in a moment you see the brilliance. And you realize that you're not meant to be smudgy. That the dirt kind of itches. You long for the purity, the luminescence. You long to be lovely. And you will do anything to feel it.
Even when you're surrounded by gray and you can't see how there will ever be a moment of joy again, there comes a shimmering blessing. It's prettier than you expected, unexpected, and it makes the gray sort of seem...irrelevant.
The best experiences in life are fluid. They can't be held on to, they must just be enjoyed as they flow. The memories are strong, and have a similar sheen, but its the moment itself that is a treasure.
Dear Jesus, thank you for making all the elements of the periodic table, but especially--today--the metals. Thank you for a chance to see something unique and striking, and for all the fluid silvery moments you've given me, including this new one. Open my eyes to see you in the beauty everywhere.