The End of a Winter Journal

I wonder if it’s worth counting how many mornings over the last four months I scribbled about watching the pink sunrise while listening to the coffee drip from the kitchen just behind me. Each time, I wrote it as if it was a new thought, a new sight, a new sound. And yet, there’s nothing new about the familiar habit of pulling the fraying uneven strings on the dusty wooden white blinds, the grinding of the whole beans and the three steel scoops into the white paper filter before the dripdripdrip rhythm begins the heartbeat of the day.

Perhaps it’s proof that I’m living. Proof that I’m switching off the alarm after slamming two snoozes, leaving behind the feathers that warm me and fuzzy pink pillow tucked under my chin, putting on my plush white robe and slippers that probably need tossed in the trash, the fur matted and too worn down from the daily trek.

This journal has followed the pattern of the others, the journey from excitement to sadness. Newness to numbness. And the lateral and the reverse. Restless to restless. Frozen ground and snow days, to spring cleaning and garden dreams.

I hope, I wish, I need. Are you there?

A quick fan through and I’m struck by how many times I wrote, It’s been too many days away. I feel like a stranger here again.

A FRESH START

The pages ran out, no more lines left to fill in the winter journal. Each date piling up, carrying me to the next season. Time to start a new journal for the spring.

This journal comes dressed in blank pages and no lines, teaching me to seek beauty in unexpected places before I even open the cover. On day one, I wonder if I have enough life to fill the blank spaces? Will I know enough words to tell a story?

I’m determined to fill it with a whiff of the neighbors’ Tide as I walk up the two concrete steps to my townhouse with the upside down gold handle that needs lifted up instead of pushed down. The little girl cruising on her hover board while she sips on her Capri Sun and lets her ponytail sway. Pulling the weeds and finally, FINALLY stopping my bricks from toppling over every day, the man in the red flannel promising to nestle them into the ground to stay.

THE FAMILIAR

Change will never be my middle name. For every new adventure, new plants and new dates scribbled in ink, I need my roots. I need my familiar routine of dripdripdrip while I’m finding solid ground at the rickety Craigslist table that I can count on every morning.

I’m sure I’ll regret the days I snooze too long, trading the still morning for a hurried scramble to throw buried Tupperware in a cooler bag to halt the 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. grumbles. I’m sure I’ll feel like a stranger at least 23 times as I wander back to the patient pages.

I’m sure I’ll hope, wish, and need a thousand and one things, some that will hit the pages of my planner and some that will stay as a whisper.

BREATHING

This spring, I will breathe. I will wait for the days coming with toes in the sand and salty hair, rosy freckled cheeks as we count the stars. I will go to surrender yoga where I learn to breathe on a mat in the quiet dark.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll leave a blank page blank.

Perhaps it will be proof that I’m living. Proof that I’m showing up to grip the wooden barre, muscles twitching and cramping, slurping almond butter shakes with a friend at the café after, answering the question, So what’s new?, with confidence in the biggest answer I have, Not much, just breathing.

Because on these spring days, I wake up to the sun that’s already risen and shining, the day already there waiting for the taking.

I will miss you, winter journal. But I must go now to the blank pages of spring waiting to learn my name.

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