I bought a stew bowl this past winter, and it sits before me now as I write. It's slightly larger than what you might ordinarily eat your morning cereal from. Made by hand, using clay dug from a canyon wash in New Mexico. After shaping and drying, the bowl was painted with a simple curving design representing the four winds, then fired outdoors in a pit, using chips of horse and cow manure for fuel. Finally, the bowl was polished with a bone, making it shine. The colors are rust, white, black, and red. The technique and design distinguish the bowl as a fine example of the ritual art of a Native American potter from the Pueblo culture of the Southwest. The bowl is a pleasure to see and hold. It is meant to be used daily. Its maker told me that only half the bowls she begins survive the firing and polishing. And they are not forever--bowls break sooner or later. The bowl's existence and use depend upon the unpredictable variables of earth, water, fire, imagination, and luck. As does the existence of its user. (Potters understand about "uh-oh") Nevertheless, she makes each bowl as well as she can, intending that it hold food and beauty equally well as long as it lasts. My stew bowl speaks to me. I like the values it embodies."
"If you look closely at the design and follow it as it circles the rim of the bowl, you will notice a peculiar discontinuity. There is a small break--a ceremonial break, actually. The potters call this a "pathway." For a thousand years this line break has appeared in Pueblo pottery. It is there to indicate that while this particular vessel is finished, the life of the potter is not. It is a ritual sign of continuing possibility."
"For the same reasons and in the same spirit, this book, this stew bowl of though, ends with a semicolon;"
Robert Fulghum, February 14, 1991
The Afterword to his book, "Uh-oh."
P.S. Black people.