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Journals are a treasure chest of memories


There are moments when things are just good.  I wish I could keep them like marbles in a glass dish, colorful little worlds of memory. I would pick them up, one at a time, and peer through their insides whenever I chose.  But that is just fantasy.  All I have is a feeble little resource of memories.

I want always to remember, but I know I won’t.  How sad.  I  recently saw the most spectacular rainbow.  It began as the regular kind, somewhat faded looking and soft about the edges.  But when I wasn’t looking, it became brilliant.  The colors were so bright and powerful, so defined, that the sky could not hold it still, and it became two rainbows.  I don’t believe I will ever again see such a sight.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Journaling is memory-saving, not just what you felt and experienced on the inside, but what you saw, what was happening in the world around you.  It is a slice of your past that you may have otherwise forgotten.

I have long had a vague idea in my mind of the perfect rainbow, and I knew that I had once seen one.  But I didn’t remember the particulars of what it looked like.  Reading this brought back very specific memories that I didn’t even know were still tucked away in my mind.  I remember that I was driving from work in Dumfries, and I was about ¾ of the way home.  It had been rainy and was still kind of grayish, but blowing over.  I looked to my right and I thought, “Oh a rainbow.”  It wasn’t much of a rainbow, pretty typical, and I went back to driving.  A few minutes later, I checked back and it was AMAZING.  It was the clearest, most defined rainbow I had ever seen, and the arc went from ground to ground, barely fading as it grew closer to each end.  Then all of a sudden there were two, but the second was not as defined.

I was on 95, so I couldn’t stop to take pictures, except in my mind.  Those mental pictures, my memories of the perfect rainbow, would have been lost without this journal entry. Or perhaps not truly lost, but locked up.  And I am reminded that all my old journals lose their value as treasure chests if they are never opened.  The treasure is still there, but what value does it hold if you keep it locked up?  Treasure is meant to be found, to be held, to sparkle in your hands.  It is meant to be pulled out and looked at.  And maybe, eventually, to be spent.

And so I have pulled out my memory of the perfect rainbow.  And I’ve looked at it again.  And I’m sharing it with you.  I’d say that’s treasure well-spent.

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. I stopped writing a journal about the time my kids were small. I just didn’t have time or energy. It was the absolute worst time to stop, however, since those years were so precious. Do you write in one every day or just when the mood strikes?

    August 19, 2011
    • I wrote very regularly when I was a pre-teen and on through my mid to late twenties, but then it pretty much dwindled off. From then on, I have written sporadically, at best. Also, what I’ve written has been more along the lines of these little bits that I’ve put on here. They are just blurbs, but it’s true that reading them has jogged my memory quite often, just as with that rainbow. I don’t find myself needing to write with the same intensity as I did when I was younger. Those entries were very detailed – and long. They were sometimes full of plans and projects. And they were sometimes full to the brink with emotions, both positive and negative. I find that things I’ve written since are more observational and (sometimes) poetic in nature.

      I don’t know why that is. I still feel strong emotions. Clearly, this blog takes on the aspects of personal journal quite often, though written more for an audience. But it’s not the same thing; what I write now does not have the same tone and emotional charge as what I wrote even as I was closing in on 30. Curious, indeed.

      Did you ever have one of those tiny little diaries that provided a couple of lines space for each day? The Thankful pages remind me of those – just a few lines with a little bit of my day written down. I have some old calendars I wrote in and a couple of those tiny diaries that I half completed. Even the few sentences that I wrote have led me on nostalgic journeys. It’s quite amazing what information is buried in our brains – things we don’t remember that we’ve forgotten. But the right key turns and whole days are remembered again. It was not lost, it was just buried treasure.

      August 19, 2011
      • I like the idea of a small notebook. The kind that can be kept in a car or a purse. They can easily be pulled out when you have a thought. Somehow, I think if I have something that officially looks like a journal, I will feel like I’ve just given myself another job! “Oh crap…now I have to write in my journal everyday…”

        August 21, 2011
        • So true! All of mine that were meant to be diaries were given to me as gifts. I wonder if people give those to little girls as gifts anymore? They are all only partially filled.

          The ones I started on my own are just random notebooks of various sizes. They stop and start all over the place, which is why I have such a hard time keeping a real journal timeline kind of thing. It’s total disorganization. On top if that, I have inches of papers where I just wrote something on the computer and printed it. Not to mention the calendars and various bits of paper I scribbled on.

          All treasures. All over the place.

          August 21, 2011

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