This year, I am trying to keep a journal. I’ve tried many times in the past.
My grandma gave me my first journal when I turned 11, a little hardbound book with a lock and key. I wrote in it wholeheartedly the first few days, maybe even weeks, but then my entries grew sporadic.
It always seems to be how things go with me and my writing, when the tyranny of the urgent takes precedence over reflection and remembrance.
So, when I turned 40 last August, I started a new Word document and began to write with the goal of keeping track of my year.
Have I written in it every day? No.
But I’ve more or less kept up.
I opened the file yesterday and started browsing a few of my earliest entries.
I wrote this about the last evening in my thirties, when a few things I saw and felt seemed to come together to try to tell me something, although not in a language I could understand.
August 17, 2022
Sometimes what happens is so small it is hardly worth recording. Sometimes what happens is so immense it seems to contain all the meaning of the world within it. And often, these are both the same thing.
A spontaneous drive to Bass Lake just before sunset. It feels like the first time out of town for an age, for the occasion of my 40th birthday. My father is with me as I spend a couple of days more or less alone. But not alone.
My dad heads toward the dock while I trek a little downhill, through sand and tufts of grass towards the water, not wanting to go too close to the only family still at the lake this time of the evening – a mother with four young children who speaks with an accent or maybe in another language.
It is too far to tell for sure, but near enough to recognize a different sibilance and meter in her words and tone.
Then I come upon a sphere lying in the grass, a chain coiled from one end. I recognize it after a moment. A buoy, at one time brightly painted red and white, with a number to indicate … what? How far out onto the lake it floats?
But it is not floating. It rests upon the sand, lake grass in thick patches stretching beyond it, half hiding what I now realize are several more buoys. Lying like dry bones waiting to be revived by some water, some downpour, some flood to fill the drying lake and beyond.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Limning the Ordinary to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.