Last week I was glad to receive a Christmas package from my sister. I was expecting it, and I was pretty sure I knew what was in it: Gourmet Chipotle Pepper Olive Oil and Chocolate flavored Balsamic Vinegar. Ooh! I can't wait to cook roast pork flavored with that stuff. But this posting, as it turns out, is not about a recipe with fancy oil and vinegar.
Because inside the package was a little book I had forgotten I ever owned.
Back in 1969, a treasured friend gave me this little journal. From the time I received it, when I was seventeen, until the summer after I turned 21, I filled those pages with poem after poem. I also wrote down the occasional dream, or errant thought. Except for about 5 pages, the book is completely full.
I made a frontispiece:
"Poetry is a spontaneous overflow
of powerful feeling... it is emotion
recollected in tranquility."
- William Wordsworth
Some of the poems describe my feelings about growing up, searching for God, and boyfriends... I have read through it several times and there are a couple I really like. One in particular demonstrates the germ of the spiritual journey I was to take several years later.
It's like reaching out
but no one's there
and realizing that
because it makes me
As I read through this little book, I am glad that I had the foresight to make some little notes, "to DJ". Or, "to A.W." However, I'm not a hundred percent sure who some of these poems reference. Who was that boy about whom I wrote,
"...I cried to hear you say
you thought I didn't love you"?
That line is the very last one written in this book. I was 21 years old and I remember that summer so well, or I thought I did anyway. That was the summer I embarked on the spiritual journey that I would walk for the next 30 years.
I am a little sad that I stopped writing down in my little book. I know I was writing. Somewhere in the universe there are thousands of bits of paper with my thoughts, and feelings on them. I wish I had them on a shelf in my room. During a visit to my parents' home around the time I wrote those last words I destroyed several volumes of journals I kept while I was at college. I felt that my personal musings of that time, while meant only for my own eyes, we're too immature, too juvenile to keep; I was a little embarrassed when I reread them. So I destroyed them.
If I could send a message back to my 21-year-old self, I would tell her to put those notebooks back on the shelf, waaay in the back. That way, when I came back to go through my parents' belongings 30 years later, after their deaths, I could collect them and put them on my own shelf. There they could remain for my children and grandchildren to find, after I am gone, when they pick through the detritus of my own life.
My 21-year-old self, while so wise in some ways, as some of her previous poetry indicated, really had no clue, did she?