The day was a struggle. Couldn’t find things, couldn’t do art, my brain was not working, my feelings were painful and confused.
I broke out a new brick of pennies, and sorted four rolls into years.
I was still crying at the end of those 200 pennies, but I felt a little bit better. So I broke out 10 more rolls – 500 pennies.
The repetition was soothing. The activity was clear and simple.
Examine each penny, then place into holders by year. A plastic egg carton works well for this.
I used a jeweler’s loupe to see the year. There’s always a few pennies that are too dirty or corroded to make it out, but a loupe can magnify enough for most of them.
Pennies sound like slow rainfall – the pleasant “plick” as each one drops into its cup atop the others.
Each year coming together into its own little mound. Each penny-day distinct as its builds into something larger.
The sense of order, however superficial it is, gives my brain a few seconds of relief from the chaos.
By the end of 700 pennies, I stopped crying.
Today’s penny is a 2015, the most plentiful year in my collection.