I missed the Dec. 15th post because of reasons, so inserted it retroactively in the correct spot in the timeline. Had a glitch getting it in the right place so it may have gotten a bit lost. It was especially for the amusement of Mr. Tootlepedal and Mary Beth, anyway. Now back to the narrative flow:
Friday, 18 December 2015
Allan went off to look at a possible boating spot at the south end of Willapa Bay.
He then took a walk on the trails behind Ilwaco’s Black Lake, where a big clear cut had sapped much of the landscape of beautiful photo opportunities.
In the still-wooded areas, he found ferns and moss…
and then the trail turned to this:
Meanwhile, at home…(The rest is all personal and wordy so skip on to tomorrow if that does not appeal):
Yesterday, I had embarked on the reading of my journals from 1976-1979, the only ones I kept; I wish I could go back in time and stop myself from throwing out the one single volume that sporadically covered 1980 through about 1987 when I stopped journaling altogether. From ’76 to ’79, each of 8 volumes was 300 pages long, some single spaced typed and some scrawled, with fascinating letters from friends inserted. Now I sure wish I could find some of those friends again. (Rowan Moonseed, whither did you go, back to England with a change of name?) A pleasant and poignant surprise was a long series of letters from my mom written to me after she retired and moved to their vacation home near the Nisqually River.
I thought perhaps I would read and destroy. I couldn’t. Despite all the embarrassing angst, I found the old diaries were too well written to ditch, and parts made me laugh, and as I read the most pitiful parts, I managed to be kind to myself for being only 21 and 22.
Most of my circle of women journaled daily and we often shared ours with each other. (I realize that is the root of my obsession with the Sylvia Beach Hotel room journals.) One friend quoted this, and it spoke to me then and speaks to me now.
I think if I’d re-read the journals two years ago, I’d have recognized that every spell of over-socializing leads to a long period of seclusion and not been surprised by the pattern repeating itself in my late 50s.
Gardening was a passion even then, beginning with containers on a back porch of an apartment on 14th Avenue, and then my first garden of my own behind a house on 12th Avenue where I had a tiny two room upstairs apartment with a view of the Space Needle.
November 1978: “I am still liking my apartment, my garden is doing well; I had sauteed vegetables from it tonight, which is pretty good for a freezing November—broccoli, tomatoes, onions & garlic & Jerusalem artichokes. I have a good winter garden going and am still housecleaning—slowly raising my wages to $5 an hour.” I have a strong memory of coming home at dusk one evening, walking into the back yard, and being so pleased with the sight and fragrance of my garden bed in the middle of the lawn.
That house was still there last time Google Earth photographed Capitol Hill. I think it might be gone by now, though.
I was thinking deep thoughts about death, with a list of my favourite things. Many years later I read The Art of Dying which said the person who knows she is dying has to say goodbye to everything she loves, whereas the ones left behind only lose that person.
A few quotations from my reading made their way onto the page:
Passages like these are why I cannot discard the journals:
Later, in late summer of 1979, having bought a house, my grandmother’s, with a mortgage of $400 a month and finding it had dry rot:
It took me two more days to read through the journals and I was glad to emerge into my present life, and yet…how I would love to talk with some of the women who were so important to me so many years ago. I have so many long letters from those days before email. I treasure still knowing five of those old friends on Facebook and still having Carol in my life with her twice yearly visits.
I count myself especially lucky to still have two friends from high school (whose letters to me figured large in the journals I just read).
Some friends are lost to me now, either because they left behind their whimsical young 20s names or they married and changed their surnames. I’ve been reminded of how funny and smart they were, but Google cannot find them for me. “Women are hard to keep track of, most of them. They slip into other names and sink without a trace.” (Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye)
I will be so glad to get back to reading books. “I’ve had just about all I can take of myself.” (S. N. Behrman, on reaching age 75)
Life is peaceful now, settled, and by comparison blessedly free from angst.