I have just filled journal Volume 63 – kind of an astonishing number until you learn that I’ve kept a personal journal since 1993. Following the death of my mother, I felt the mantle of historian fall to me. My journals don’t, however, recount my broader family history. But rather, they are far more personal, telling the story of my intimate family, Angus, me, our 2 border collies and Nature. Seems pretty broad after all, now that I think of it.
When I started keeping a journal I used a tiny red leather-bound book, crafted in England. I bought it at The Tattered Cover for an outrageous amount of money. The book, bound and published by Geoffrey Parker, Wimbish Village near Saffron Walden, Essex, England was enchanting and manufactured side by side with miniature volumes of Shakespeare, Wadsworth and Burns. How could the proximity not inform my own small thoughts? Shortly after filling the first, I contacted the bindery and ordered two more of the tiny books in which to continue my journey.
Not long after that I became engrossed with the idea of learning how to hand bind my own journals, to allow for structures, papers and configurations that better suited the way I liked to record passing time. I was fortunate enough to take workshops from book artists that are now famous for their efforts.
All of that was over 20 years and 62 volumes ago. Today, I have 63 fat volumes full of poems, definitions, quotes, ruminations and photographs, the reading of which has the ability to cast me back in time with a poignancy that is still surprising to me. These books remind me of smells, sounds, the way light fell onto a particular scene. They rekindle the same feeling of eager passion that I felt standing in one or another wild place, or experiencing our first kiss.
Here’s to Volume 64!
Ah! Sun-Flower! weary of time,
Who, countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done.
Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.