What is Your Bucket of Nails?



Last night Lauren and I went to the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens to see the Barbara Colacielo directed Deep Resonance – readings from August Wilson’s play Gem of the Ocean. The gorgeous, haunting Whitfield Lovell Deep River exhibit was the backdrop. Billy Holiday bled from a tinny old radio, actors and audience moved from gallery to gallery and as we entered an “underwater” video installation, the authentic thunder from a Florida summer storm boomed overhead. It was an all body experience.


I don’t get out much. So when I do, I want it to be memorable. I define something as “memorable,” when an idea gets mired in my head; when a remark or an observation or a conversation sticks like a sandspur till I figure it out. I was sitting in the second gallery last night and the players were having an exchange beneath an umber washed image and an unwieldy  pile of old suitcases. They were talking about a bucket of nails. The nails were stolen by a man who seeks atonement for the chain of events his thievery has caused. Another man was accused of his crime and commits suicide rather than confess. The wise-woman, healer he goes to for solace, uses the bucket of nails as a metaphor for the guilt he carries: the guilt we all carry. She says:


He say I‘d rather die in truth than to live a lie. That way he can say that his life is worth more than a bucket of nails. What is your life worth, Mr. Citizen? That what you go to find out. You got to find a way to live in truth. If you live right you die right.


This morning I’ve figured it out – why those lines hit me like a ton of bricks (and why great art is so universal). It’s because alcoholics carry that heavy load of nails until they come clean and scrub the guilt. That’s why it feels like a great weight has been lifted off your soul when you decide to “live in truth”. I’m so unbelievably happy to finally be living light, that my life is worth so much more than the scrap metal I dragged behind me for so long…


We left the Cummer in torrential rain without umbrellas. I took off my Ralph Lauren stilettos (all this intellectual stuff aside, those are expensive shoes…) and Lauren and I laughed and ran to the parking lot through a foot of runoff, our purses ineffectually held over our heads. We arrived at the restaurant, wet enough for the waitress to ask us if we wanted additional napkins to “towel off”.


I would say last night qualifies as a “memorable evening”…



Barbara and the cast of “Deep Resonance”


Today I’m not drinking because I’m “living right”.

How come you’re not drinking?