Hope on the Horizon


[ Still in the box ]

January 26 – Not long before this last Christmas, a good friend gave me a jigsaw puzzle as a gift. It was a 1,000-piece puzzle, entitled Hope on the Horizon. It is a picture of Christ standing on a rocky hilltop, holding a sturdy wooden staff and looking out towards a setting sun with a river and cliff and distant town below. This picture is in a frame with a rim of gold designs, surrounded by a dark section and thick colored lines, painted by Greg Olsen.

Over the years I have assembled quite a few jigsaw puzzles and have spent numerous hours doing so. A few days after receiving this puzzle, I took it out of its box and poured out the pieces on our kitchen table. At this point I made a mistake, forgetting to lay out on the table a couple of large, plastic sheets on which to assemble the puzzle. These sheets allow one to eventually just pull the completed puzzle intact up over a sheet of heavy cardboard and carry it downstairs for storage on a table. Once this puzzle was complete, it turned out to be difficult to slide the sheets underneath it, for the edges kept catching on the edges of the puzzle pieces touching the table and tearing the puzzle apart.


[ Sorting pieces ]

But this happened weeks and weeks and weeks later, for this puzzle was a tough one, and I spent a long time getting it together, with the assistance of my wife Chris and our son David and his daughter Rindy.

Of course, puzzle-assemblers know that the first steps are the laying out of all the pieces and turning them face upwards and then sorting out all the edge pieces. Invariably some of those edge pieces are missed and left unnoticed until they are found absent when putting the edge together. Then one has to go through all the pieces again and seek the missing pieces. This I had to do more than once, and then began to hook up the pieces one by one, with much trial and error.

Alas, there were still a couple of missing pieces, requiring more searching. It turned out that in this puzzle, some pieces would fit in more than one location and had to be held up to the light to see if much light was showing between the edges. I even found two pieces that seemed to be identical in shape and coloring and how was one to know which one went where? At the left-hand edge I was unable to get everything connected properly and had to just leave it in a mess and hope that later things would work out. As assembly progressed I found that something was seriously wrong and was lucky to have a son who was able to figure out what the problem was and turn a whole section of edging over to face the other direction!


[ The complete puzzle ]

A good deal of this puzzle was not too hard to put together, and bright colors helped, but when the darker pieces needed assembling, days and days of work were needed, and I would often have to go and rest my aching eyes for a while. Sometimes a piece would just have to be moved from one spot to the next until finally it fit, and that could take a long time. Towards the end we found that along one edge pieces were just a little out-of-line and so had to be disassembled and rearranged until the problem was solved. At long last, when the puzzle was finally complete, I called photographer Chris to come and take some pictures. Now we can proudly show the world that all has ended well and the beautiful puzzle can be displayed.

If only I could find the lower half of the puzzle box, I would be able to put the puzzle back in it and find someone else willing to tackle the reassembly job. Until then I shall have to leave the puzzle on its display board downstairs. Does anyone know where that puzzle box can be? – DALE

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