My puzzle progress is two years off the pace. As warm weather brings an increase of outside activities like weed chopping, mowing, gardening, the hours left for puzzling decrease dramatically. There is something to be said for staying in the puzzle. You come to know the location of pieces from having seen them over and over as you search the tables for other pieces. When that special knowledge fades and you no longer command the whole puzzle, you are back to searching for the needle in the haystack.
The smudgy black and tan dock bits have caused me to bring almost half the puzzle pieces over to the bank of the Euphrates where they lie like a frozen tsunami just beyond the growing edge of the pieces already in place.
This whole preoccupation is to teach me to focus again and again on a topic, to amplify it, to find its depths, and to source a continuous supply of stories and counter-stories to muse upon, to develop, or to lay away in the great cellar of story for some future chapter of some future book.
Indeed, I have become more interested in ancient history, in myths, legends, religions, the very foundations of storytelling. But mostly this exercise has revealed to me a guy in a bathrobe with uncombed hair holding a cup of coffee in one hand and a puzzle piece in the other, squinting and wondering where he put his glasses, and muttering "what the hell kind of color is that?"
Then falling back to read a little Rig Veda, ponder Alexander's demise, and thinking that, though Graham Hancock's posturing to create proof of ice-age civilizations may indeed be bogus, his reading of the Veda as descriptions of ice-age events handed down through the ancient oral traditions is probably quite accurate.