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Chronicles

Icy times.
Icy times.

Advice to Young Journal Keepers.  Be lenient with yourself.  Conceal your worst faults, leave out your most shameful thoughts, actions, and temptations.  Give yourself all the good and interesting qualities you want and haven’t got.  If you should die young, what comfort would it be to your relatives to read the truth and have to say: It is not a pearl we have lost, but a swine?

~ Rosamond Lehmann, Invitation to the Waltz

Yesterday we had frozen rain and ice pellets fall down upon us.
Yesterday we had frozen rain and ice pellets fall down upon us.

I’ve come across the opening quote a few times, and every time I do, I chuckle.  It reminds me of me.  There was a time when I would write everything in my journal.  I would spew out my anger, pour out my sadness, chronicle my pettiness, and share the details of arguments.  Lest you think it was all negatives, you should know that I also recorded the highs of life, the joys, the wonders, the laughter, the friendship, and the love.

Still icy this morning.
Still icy this morning.

Near the end of the year I’d start to think about saving my journal, and that would lead me to thinking about who was going to read it.  I don’t mean while I’m alive, although that’s always a possibility.  I don’t think any of my immediate family members would dip into my journal without permission, but I carry it when I travel and what would happen if I lost it somewhere?  Would you read a found diary?  If so, how much of it would you read?  Enough to try to identify the writer so you could return it?  Or would you want to delve into all of the stories in that handwritten book?  I suppose the answer might depend on how interesting the stories happened to be.

Enough of the ice and cold.  Let's go back to the beach.
Enough of the ice and cold. Let’s go back to the beach.

As the year would draw to a close, I would skim through the journal, sometimes wincing at my narration of life.  I don’t mean my spelling or grammar or any writing talent I may or may not have.  It was the negativity made tangible with words that I found distressing and uncomfortable.  I didn’t want to pass that on to the future so I did the only sensible thing.  I burned my journal.

Parked.
Parked.

It became a yearly ritual, a way to let go of the Yuck of life so it wouldn’t build up.  I know some folks would find that a terrible waste, to consign all those thoughts and feelings and words to the flames.  Usually it’s the writers who react with shock (“I could never do that!”).

Channel.
Channel.

There are journals that didn’t go into the fire.  I always kept (and still keep) a separate travel journal.  Some years I have a separate gratitude journal.  Not all is lost.

Fishing.
Fishing.

Lately, during my enforced rest and recovery, I’ve been reading a lot.  Some of that reading involves blogs.  It’s been mostly reading with little commenting.  Sorry about that.  I have more time to read if I spend less time composing a comment, but I’ll try to do better so you’ll at least know I’ve been around to visit you.

Stretching.
Stretching.

I have come across a number of blogs that are so open and honest and (I hesitate to use this word because I think it’s overused) authentic.  I find myself wishing I could be that way in my writing and on my blog.  I want to be comfortable enough to put it all out there in some way.

Rainbow in the swamp.
Rainbow in the swamp.

But maybe I do that with my images.  And maybe with some of my words.  I’m pretty sure my stories are in here somewhere.

Warm colors for a cold day.
Warm colors for a cold day.

Enough of that.  I’ve got too much time on my hands lately, and it makes me want to ramble in words.  The 5 mile hike on Sunday followed by a 3 mile hike on Monday were a little too much so I’ve been off my feet for most of the past two days.  I don’t know why I find it so difficult to laze around.  Yesterday wasn’t so bad.  It was cold and icy and ice pellets were falling from the dark gray clouds hanging above us.  It was the perfect Pajama Day.

Road ends in water.
Road ends in water.

This morning was chilly, and the ice was still clinging to the trees and shrubs and grasses.  Then the sun came out this afternoon, melting away some of the chill and ice.

No words.
No words.

Thank you for stopping by today.  Sunset is looking promising.  Winter has a way of rewarding us with colorful, fiery sunsets to make up for the cold, I think.  I’ll meet you on the dock.  Sunset is at 5:37 PM.  I’ll be there early, maybe super early since I tend to mosey and dawdle  instead of hustle and bustle.  It’s cold so be sure to bundle up.  They’re saying we might get snow tomorrow, but the weather prognosticators have been saying that every week since the Winter Solstice and barely a flake has appeared so I’m not going to count on it.

Stripes and layers.
Stripes and layers.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Today’s joys:  The warmth of the sunlight shining into the living room; playing cat and following the sun around the house; snuggling; lots of time for reading and writing and other sit-down activities; healing.

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Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

15 thoughts on “Chronicles

  1. I can’t bring myself to destroy my journals as they have so many other things in there too – all the little memories that make a life. But I have felt the same way you did – all that negativity!! I’m much more careful now when I write in my journals. I think now – do I want to reread this in ten years? Some of it I do, even if it is negative. But other times, I don’t bother writing down who upset me or why I think life is unfair. I do find though that from keeping journals, it’s much easier to sort these things out in my mind and work through them even if I’m not writing them down.

    Nancy

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    1. I think journaling has helped me in that way too, Nancy. My brain seems to work better at sorting and sifting as a result of all the writing. I know what you mean about the little memories, and I’m sorry to have lost a lot of those with the negativity. Like you, I’m more careful about what I write, especially if it might reflect poorly on someone else (since a journal is so one-sided).

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  2. I like the honest and open writers the best – one of the reasons I liked you (and still do!). People can identify with others who are real, who have failings as well as being brilliant, who are humble before banging their own gong, who are really showing their true colours. I have 2 diaries that I have saved, which are from my high school years. Every so often I have considered detroying them, cringeing at each line, yet I have kept them all the same. Recently I read them again and found them more harmless then I remembered and rather enlightening and interesting, with all the heartaches and teenage angst! Maybe now I have reached a “certain age” where I no longer care! I have decided to keep them and accept that those feelings I had then were completely normal and ok to share! Quite a revelation, seriously! I shan’t be sharing them yet – when I am 100 they can be read, and everyone will think how tame they are, lol!

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    1. Thanks, Bunny. 🙂 It’s one of the many reasons I like you, too. I often wonder what happened to my diaries from my teen years. I might find them in a box somewhere if we ever finish unpacking. lol! It’s nice to reach a “certain age” where you no longer care, isn’t it?

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  3. I’ve tossed stuff. Somethings if not seen in context will say it wrong.
    There are diaries, journal, and autobiographies. I ran across some of my great grandmother’s personal writings and scrapbooks – and some from my husband’s family. Generations later these do make history and their lives solid and real. So it’s good to leave some traces for those who come later. Realistically the environments you create of choose (pictures/images), the books that are kept and the few items that are cherished, saved and passed along (especially to a child who is young) reveal a great deal about a person’s inner thoughts, values, and priorities.
    You’ll be seen through it all by others someday.

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    1. You hit the nail on the head, PhilosopherMouse. I wouldn’t like to have some of the things I wrote about taken in the wrong way, and since it’s all so one-sided, it would be. It will be better to leave some of those other traces you mention. 🙂

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  4. If I read a blog but find I just have nothing to say, I view the “like” button as a helpful tool. You know I visited. As to honesty and/or privacy, the last two years of husband’s life were difficult, and I kept a private blog to vent my most negative frustrations. I needed to vent, but not in public.

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    1. That’s part of it, too, Carol. Some things just don’t need to be made public. I use the “Like” button frequently, too. I know there are some folks who don’t like the “Like” button and would rather have comments, but sometimes I don’t really have anything to add to the conversation.

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  5. I think it’s a relief to learn that other people have burned their journals! goodness, I’ve wondered myself what hurt I might leave behind if the way I was processing some thing happened to be revealed.. I journal in a different way now, and of course have the blog. I think I’ve begun to write in the same way I speak to others and that helps. On the other hand, writing what you feel and then sending it to the heavens inth e form of smoke isn’t bad either.

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    1. I feel the same way, Arlingwoman! Reading your comment made me feel better about having burned my journals, knowing that someone else has done the same. I agree about sending those feelings up in smoke. I’ve been known to bury them or throw them in a body of water, too. In symbolic ways (a rock, a shell, etc.), of course. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have burned my journals, too. For me, writing is a way to process my present moments, but holding onto journals keeps an energetic connection alive to the past, which (to me) isn’t always a helpful thing. I like to ritualize the burning process, transmuting any negativity, pain, or sorrow from my writing into pure space, freedom, and joy! (I’ll also admit it took me at least 10 years to even consider “destroying” a completed journal, but once I got over the “first time” hump, I actually look forward to the almost-annual burning ritual now.)

    One more journal story: Marty keeps meticulous, scrapbook-style journals with clippings of all the movies we’ve seen, places we’ve visited, and long missives about his dreams and feelings. I’ve never read the journals but have seen him devote countless hours to writing, gluing, and organizing his thoughts. Anyway. One of his journals got lost in transit in Europe (before I was with him). To this day, losing that journal and having his heart so exposed to a stranger is one of the most devastating things that’s happened to him. I wonder if it will ever turn up? (Maybe when he’s rich and famous, it will be released as an exposé…)

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    1. I can only imagine how Marty must feel about losing a journal like that. His story is one more reason why I don’t regret burning my old journals. I ritualized it, too, for the reasons you mention. Release the past! 😀

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  7. I’ve never been a journal keeper – I tried a couple times but it never stuck. I think my blog, especially in the earlier days of it, is the closest I’ve ever come. But of course that is not the place for our deepest darkest secrets. I like what you said about burning the journal being the way to release your “Yuck”. I wish I could send you my snow! More is forecast for this weekend. Love your wonderful colors!

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    1. Thank you. 🙂 I hope this next storm system isn’t too hard on you, Karma. I know it sounds crazy to be wishing for snow, but I’ve always loved winter and grew to love it more when I lived in a snowbelt. But, as my husband keeps reminding me, after I quit working outside of the home I didn’t have to drive in it. I don’t know why he keeps reminding me of that. It’s not like driving in northeast Ohio in the winter is all that challenging. They know how to handle snow there and do a fabulous job of keeping the roads clear. I know this from when I did have to drive to work during the winter months. Maybe I should remind him of that? lol!

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  8. I used to keep a diary, and I very often wrote poems, but I found I only wrote when I was unhappy and reading the results to myself at a later date wasn’t enjoyable so I stopped.
    Keeping my blog on a happier level in general is much more fun. 😀

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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