Spoons. Colored powder. Heating instruments. Standing in this little art district I’m taken aback by the collection on this little table in the dark corner of the shop. It almost looks like a movie scene where the prostitute prepares her next fix. The intricate doodles on the pad adjacent to the protective eye wear betray the producer. It’s a sketch of a figurine. A vision. A goal. An artist rendering of the next creation. The glint from the box across the work bench catches my eye. Yellow, crimson, teal, onyx…. they are stunning glass creatures. No two alike. The blower has been busy. Shaping. Molding. Crafting. They are looking at me admiring their tiny fragile bodies. One jolt of the table and they’d be shattered — on their way to the recycling bin. They don’t show fear. In their hardened state, there’s no evidence of the shaping process. Of what they’ve endured. No clue about the heat they’ve melted under. Every curve. Every dent. Every freckle, spot, line, crease and dimple is a product of heat. Intense purifying heat. There are so many of these little creations lining the blower’s table, I forget I’m in a shop. They glint and sparkle and dance with color. Some rest sturdily on the table with thick trunks and others balance heroically on small spindly legs. The color of the glass adds a dimension that clothing hides. There is no place to hide in their naked state. Fully clothed yet fully transparent. You can see right through to their inner parts and beyond to their neighbors. It’s hard to see where one begins and another simply shows through. They… belong together. Standing alone they’d surely be lost. Light seeps in a little crack in the tin roof. One of the figurines gets the blessing and shares it with her buddies. She’s now reflecting her color on everything that refuses to take cover. I watch the light on my hand and move it hoping that the clouds won’t rush in too quickly. My girlfriend is ready to go but I’m still trying to imagine the blower in this space breathing out creation and delighting in each one. I remember this place today when I read a facebook post… REFUSE TO LET ANYTHING HARDEN YOUR HEART. I don’t know what caused the pain that led to the declaration, but I thought of glass and how soft the heat makes it. How it gets shaped and gains character and forms an identity through heat. And when the heat stops, the figurine becomes hard — but not hardened. There’s a vast difference. Hard is fragile. Hardened is dead. Fragile objects must be carefully handled and set in places where light can penetrate and spread color onto floors and tables and people and places without breaking the tender figurine.