Small Delights

If you are like me, your diary entries might read like the newspapers and other media: all the best-selling bad news, all the tragedies, all the wrongs and slights, “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”

So I was pleased to rediscover the joy of two small journals I began but never finished.  I think it would be uplifting to try again.  The little black book was supposed to be a gratitude journal.  It includes entries from 2004 to 2010.  I wish there were more entries because there is nothing dark or negative, only happiness.  I quit because it is awkward for me to be “grateful” when I have no god or guide to be grateful to.  Maybe a pantheist needs to simplify to a one to three sentence record of the best thing that happened that day and leave it there.

Some entries:

12-30-2004 “Drove Camel on errands and to the feed store.  He started right up and ran fine.  I loved driving the pick-up again.”

12-31-2004 “Watched the flamenco dancers at First Night.  Beautiful!”

1-13-2005 “I struggled on through with the computer and made a flyer for pet siting.  Hooray!”

4-29-2005 ” M. gave me a photo of the lamb I saved, a mug with women writers, and a book of famous last words.”

1-30-2008 “I enjoyed people’s reaction to my beret.  As always, so many people stare or smile and the men respond.  Everyone defers.  Why is this so?  Why does this hat give me so much power?”

10-18-2009 “My favorite time of the day was sitting in the swing watching the sunset, drinking a cup of coffee after four and a half hours of farm work.”

I think it is quite amazing how much can be conveyed in just a few sentences.  The reader knows a little about me already and about what is important to me, what makes me happy.

Actual diaries from the 1800s, those pocket-size books with about an inch of space for an entry, also convey a lot of information, though not so much the feelings of the diarist.  I.e. “killed three chickens today,” “planted the peas,” “visited old Mrs. Turner,” or “Sally’s baby has colic.”

The second journal in the picture, 3″ by 4″ in size with the beetle on the cover, was an attempt at haiku-like poetic thoughts.  I tried to do one every night before turning out the light.  There are no dates.

Some examples:  “Milo’s eyes twinkled when he saw me.  How flattered I am to be so loved by a cat.”

“Evie tells us: ‘My daddy is the best daddy ’cause he’s soft and cozy.'”

And: “Today I wore the sixties again

Fine in flowing orange cotton India blouse and black pants

Where did the years go?”

And:  “Blond curls. Naked butts. Romping in pool. Such beautiful edible innocence.”

And: “Cat curled on the chair.  Evie pets her, kisses her.  Annie does not run.”

And: “‘Tell you what,’ Evie says to the doll.  Smiling, I see I have been copied again.”

Each one of these short, simple entries, capturing the best moment of each day, is remarkable in the boost of happy memories it brings during today’s dark uncertain times.  It has been like going through old photo albums.  Word pictures.

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