I am always happy (out of doors be it understood, for indoors there are servants and furniture) but in quite different ways, and my spring happiness bears no resemblance to my summer or autumn happiness, though it is not more intense, and there were days last winter when I danced for sheer joy out in my frost-bound garden, in spite of my years and children. But I did it behind a bush, having a due regard for the decencies.
I’ve got an inspiring new girl crush (what an annoying expression!), and she is so delightfully refreshing! No talk about how her baby knows calculus or can do seven pirouettes. No self-righteousness over immunizations or circumcision or freaking fluoride. She’s never heard of Pinterest or Facebook or even computers. She is Elizabeth von Arnim and in 1898 she published an autobiographical “novel” called Elizabeth and her German Garden, which is pretty much just her journal. In it she imagines conversations between owls, refers always to her husband as the “Man of Wrath” and writes her garden so sensually that I, with trademark whimsy, am having notions of planting one. But more realistically, I’m reminded that a trip – a pilgrimage – to Hana is long overdue. Or even just an unhurried trip to the beach. And, as importantly, introspection is overdue. Rarely does von Arnim talk of her family. It’s really all about her. And her garden. As the title would imply. 115 years ago when it was written she was just about my age, and now she’s helping to reawaken aspects of myself I’ve neglected.
What happened to the writing me? The adventuring me? Even just the me that was in touch with my surroundings, that appreciated the moment? The me who would sit and ponder in a garden? (Or whatever, the me who would sit smoking in some cafe.) I think it’s just that life got much faster and much less about me, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Wanting to rekindle my introspective side, I decided to visit my journal on this date ten years ago, and within moments was exclaiming in disgust, “God, 24-year-old me is anNOYing! 24-year-old me SUCKS!” Good riddance to that girl! Plus my hair must’ve always smelled of smoke. No, I will NOT awaken any of 24 year-old me. She is forever dormant on the internet (well-hidden and unpublished).
An old friend kept hand-written journals, and promptly threw each one away as she finished them. It seemed at the time such a shame. Journaling has never been for me about venting, merely about pausing and examining. A Socrates thing. Which would make it seem that holding on to those pauses and musings would be valuable. And I suppose it is. But being in such close touch with ten-years-younger you is also extremely awkward. That was a loooong time ago; it’s easier now for me to understand why my friend preferred to keep her past in the past.
But I’m glad I kept it, and yes, glad it exists, even if now it’s sort of like overturning a rock and seeing a bunch of creepy crawlies, and slamming the rock back down. There’s something fantastically horrible about it now, but it helped me see better at the time.
So, here a vow. I will continue my ten-minute a day writing habit, as that’s what I’ve been doing since June – jotting down thoughts at the end of the day for ten minutes. Ten minutes fly by. Ten minutes is do-able. It’s a shower or evening dishes. It’s the maximum I’d give a really funny YouTube clip. It’s what I’ve been managing each evening (okay, every third evening) before sleep. But it’s all disjointed. Bordering on bullet points at times. Or lists. I am an expert list-maker. It’s things I don’t want to lose – Micah’s sweet expressions, things that made us laugh, not much more than a photo a day (another of my exercises in life preservation and appreciation). But I’d like to try to make something more substantial once in awhile. I’d like to turn my listy, bullet-pointy scraps into something more beautiful and more sacred once in awhile. On Sundays because Sundays are for being sacred.
There, it’s in writing. Megan and her Hawaiian Garden. Cultivating self, sanity, balance, the pureness of new life (babies literally), inspirations (books and music), health, nature, exploring and embracing the beauty around me.