I received my tiniest contribution just after moving to California in June. It was from Natalia Araya in Valencia, Spain and inside the mailer addressed in sweeping handwriting was a small, oval-shaped trinket box. The box, with its embossed leaf-pattern texture, had a mosaic of pink, yellow, and blue flowers on its hinged lid. I carefully opened the box to find a folded parcel, sealed with gold tape. I carefully opened this little bundle, too, and discovered five loops of thread-like black wire, each strung with seed pearls. I immediately wondered what the story was and how old they were.
I sent an email to Natalia to say thank you and let her know the pearls had arrived, as I always do with my contributors. I also asked her if the the pearls were old and, later that day, she replied with a detailed story about how she acquired them. She told me when she first moved to Spain, she bought some tools from a 78-year-old jeweler named Don Juan, "a retired man who lived in the middle of nowhere yet specialized in Victorian jewelry repair." She said they became friends and had many great conversations. One day he gave her a box full of old gems and pearls, including the ones she had sent to me. She asked him about the pearls and he explained they had been a part of something he had repaired once and the wire they were on was original. Natalia went on to say, "I treasure them, they are just so little and such a special gift, I am glad to give them to go to a big project, they have been around [and] I feel it's a good way to finish their story..." In another email, she sent me some photos of her with Don Juan, one from the day she bought the tools and another from after they had become friends. In this picture, the two are out for a walk one weekend during a visit with his family at their country house.
I like to think about the events that lead up to these emails and that will also, eventually, lead to me adding the pearls to the Pearl Piece. What an interesting series and wonderful connection between the three of us and then to all the other people who sent pearls as well. I like that these tiny pearls were once a part of something and are now finding purpose again, much like the pearl I described a few weeks ago. And, once again, I find myself in awe of the possibilities of human connection.
Read the other stories:
Thanks for reading.