i found myself thumbing through my old nature journal this week.
i've tried, without much degree of success to confine myself to one journal -- i still fantasize over the Everything in One Place* approach -- but i'm apparently far too scattered for such a sensible organization. i tend to compartmentalize my life and my journals and notebooks are no exception to that particular oddity of mine.
i wanted to keep a record for the garden - to log the successes/failures as well as my vast and ambitious plans. that evolved into noting things like when the ice came off the pond and when the swallows returned. the occasional watercolour drawing appeared, then i taped in the odd feather and Instax photo of a newly planted flowerbed.
then, because it started going that way and because i seem to always do this to myself, i placed Expectations upon my nature/garden diary. there were to be Illustrations, as per Edith Holden and Janet Marsh. i would be Thoughtful and Full of Insight, as per Roger Deakin and Robert Macfarlane
i had Notions of how i thought it Ought to be.
at which point i stopped using it.
the thing is, developing Notions seems to be my tragic flaw.
i'm quite alright as long as i plod merrily along in my own company, following whatever squirrel trail attracts my eye. noting things down. pausing to breathe once in a while.
it's when i start analyzing things that it all goes pear-shaped.
anyway. the quote on the first page of my nature diary -- as pictured above (from Findings, by Kathleen Jamie) -- pulled me up short. again.
as did the one in the next picture (from The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom).
they speak to the reason why i have this mad compulsion to write things down - not because i want some gloriously illustrated, insta-worthy, final-product (although that would be nice and i really do want to up my illustration game ;)) - but because i think it's so utterly and desperately necessary in this digital world to have some sort of physical record that we were ever here.
which probably sounds rather dire and doomsday-ish, but there you have it.
also, i really love it.
i really love going back through and running my hands over ink-crinkled paper and smoothing the stray fronds of a feather. i love being able to say "hey, did you know we had 25cm of snow on April 2nd last year?" or that the red-winged blackbirds weren't any earlier this year than last. i love smiling at my enthusiasm over spring seed starts and how i've changed my focus from veg to flowers and back again a hundred times.
when i was tidying up my desk and found myself thumbing through that old journal i realized how terribly much i missed it. so i asked myself why i'd given it up.
the reason, as usual, came back to nothing other than my Notions, and some very false-beliefs over what i really ought to be doing with my time.
i've grown very weary, you see, of the Be Busy Always philosophy. it's worn me right down to a nub.
so i'm doing it again - without Expectations - because i love it and i denied myself permission to do it for too long.**
whenever i feel a Notion coming, i offer it a cup of tea and ask it to sit in the corner, quietly.
because not everything has to be something.
i need to remember this.
* i've come very, very close in this.
** i'm doing a lot of thinking about the things i've denied myself, (or forced myself to do)- for reasons of being Efficient or Productive. it's become endemic in the digital (and real) world...where you're judged on how well you can multi-task or how quickly you zero your inbox. i don't mind admitting that i just can't keep up. trying to do so is making me ill - physically, mentally, emotionally.