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Posts from the ‘revisiting old journals’ Category

Nothing is simple

Revisiting Old Journals12/12/90

There are no true simplicities in life.  That’s the beauty of it.

And sometimes that’s the kick in the ass.



riding in the country



Last night, Scott, Walt, and I went riding in the country.  I’d never been at night, and I had been wanting to go really badly. 

First we went to our bridge. We were there for a long time, and we all just talked about different things.  Then Scott told us a story about the three spinning fairies.  It was good; the girl invited them to her wedding and was not ashamed of their appearances, so they spun her flaxen.  Then her prince husband found out they had ugly features because of spinning, and he said she’d never spin again.  Then Walt told the story of the Green Gorilla.  That was good, too.  He chased a man all over, and then when he finally caught the man, he said, “You’re it!”  I liked both stories.  I tried to think of one, but I couldn’t.  We all had nickels to make wishes on, too.  I wished for happiness and to make others happy.

Then we went to the graveyard.  We went to the back fence and there was a field.  So we climbed the fence, and Walt and Scott went running.  They were like kids, running as fast and as hard as they could and yelling and just loving it.  While they were running, I went down to the bottom of the hill and there was a line of trees.  I wanted to go through to the next field and the next and the next and on forever, just to see what there was to see.  When we were all there, we went through and across the next field, then around where the truck tracks led to another field, and it was a cornfield that hadn’t been cut down.  So, we went through this cornfield.  Almost to the end, we came to a clearing of sorts and sat for a while.  It was great.  The corn was taller than us, especially since we had begun to go uphill.  It was so secluded and all; it was incredible.  You felt a million miles away from everything.  There was no school, no work, no tests or papers, no bills, no world.  I never wanted to leave.

When we got to the end, though, there were real woods with a house behind them.  So we turned back then.  I got some briar scrapes, a corn leaf and a stick out of it, and Scott and Walt each got an ear of corn.  When we got back to the graveyard, they sang Amazing Grace and then some camp songs.  It was nice.

I kept thinking about those two trees growing there, and how they are the same.  We call them both trees, they have branches and leaves, bark, roots, and limbs.  But they are totally different from one another.  One is straight and one is short-trunked.  People are just like that, too.  We all are the same; we have arms, legs, blood, bones and cartilage and muscles.  But we all think and feel different things.  We see and interpret differently from one another, also.

When we left there, we just went through the rest of the road and back down by the water again.  Walt wanted a reflector and he got us all one.  When we got back, they came in.  It was about 9:30 and we’d been out about three hours.  They stayed until a little after 11:00.  Scott told another story and Walt told them the Green Gorilla story.  This may be dumb, but I was happy to have been the first one to hear it.  Scott played some piano, too, and we all talked some, too.  It was a good night, all around.

As I read through this, I’m struck by how simplistic the writing seems, just very straightforward and unadorned, almost juvenile.  The same could be said for the feelings conveyed.  I spent the evening wandering the countryside with my friends.  It was fun.  That’s it.

But it’s also everything.

This evening really made an impression on my mind.  I particularly remember, as we stood looking over that graveyard fence, Scott and Walt turning to each other and saying, “This looks like a running field.”  I didn’t know what they were talking about.  It’s interesting to think of the languages we have with each other; I heard what they were saying, and I understood the words, but they were speaking their own private language. 

And then they did – they ran.  It was wonderful.

What strikes me is how seldom I have those kinds of nights anymore.  My attention has been sucked into the computer or the television or work.  When I was young, my friends and I used to do simple things together.  We would go out and explore the world.  We’d walk around the neighborhood, drive around in the country, explore broken down houses, or just look, or just take pictures, or pick flowers, or whatever.   We spent evenings hanging out and actually talking.  I don’t do that very much anymore.  What a shame.


It doesn’t seem that long ago…


I was just watching the news and they mentioned that this is the anniversary of the space shuttle disaster – when it blew up.  I was remembering that day, 3 years ago, and that I cried.  It’s so strange to think how long ago that was.  It doesn’t seem that long ago.  Pretty soon it’ll be five years and then ten…fifteen…twenty.  Will the nation remember that day?  I will.

We are all growing so old, so fast.  Kate turned twenty on Wednesday and Margaret down the hall turned twenty today.  Christie is already twenty and soon Laurie will be, then Pam, then me.  It’s strange and sometimes scary to think of how quickly time passes now.

My parents talk of things that happened in the past, 15, 20, 25 years ago.  My mom says she can remember where she was when Kennedy was shot.  I can remember where I was when I heard about the attempt on Reagan’s life and about the space shuttle.  Too soon, I will be saying 15, 20, 25 years ago…


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.

Items of Interest:

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