One day I entered a blacksmith’s cottage unsure of what I would see.

His tools were hung on the walls and the fire embered in the forge.

“The only way to create,” he told me, “is to control the elements.”

“Become the alchemist,” I replied. He nodded.

In his hands he held minerals that came from the earth that he fed to the fire.

He used his bellow to fan the flames so that heat could erupt and water stood to the side in a bucket.

Turning, he took the pottery shards I had brought and laid out the pieces in front of him.

Thirty-two pieces became sixteen became eight, then four, two, and finally one.

All glued together with drying gold, light permanently shining through broken cracks.

“Nothing is ever broken,” he said. “Sometimes we need to crack to let the light shine through.”

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