My grandmother always kept a notebook next to her bed where every night, with diligence, she would write a few things down. This wasn't poetry or even very intimate. It was her everyday notes, and her record of the things she wanted to keep track of or remember for one reason or another. "March 29. Took Amy [that's me] to the antique store. Called Ruthie. Bob has bronchitis. The painters started painting the barn." Something like that...each and every day, until a notebook filled up and another was started.
I've been thinking a lot about the way we record our days, if we do so at all. It might be prompted a bit by the book I pulled from our bookshelf recently and have been reading here and there. A Countrywoman's Journal by Margaret Shaw. A sketchbook diary full of everyday naturalist observations and sweet watercolor illustrations. A talented artist and storyteller, she was an 'everyday countrywoman' and I don't think had grand ambition from these notes (given that they sat in a drawer for seventy years!), besides her own recording of her days and what she saw and what she deemed important to remember and notice.
As you might have noticed, I stopped titling my posts this winter. Believe it or not, that tiny little action was a huge and wonderful shift for me. When I began this online space, twelve years ago last month, my days and ideas about what this space was were both very different! There were many more themed reasons to show up and tell you a story. Patterns and tutorials and such. But after twelve years, I cannot tell you how to naturally dye easter eggs again - it's already been said and you've already heard it, and I cannot take another single photo of the process. And similarly, the story of a tantrum after a missed nap and how we solved that by a trip to the beach....well that just doesn't fit anymore either. Teen challenges are far more difficult - and inappropriate, I believe - to share. My work, too, means that often many hours of my days are spent doing things that just aren't really shareable, full of phone calls and a few more hours in front of a screen than my eyes would like. All of those things came together to have me wondering just how to approach this space, this space that I love so much and hold so dearly for all it has been for so long. Somewhere in that pondering, I had an aha moment that this space could be - and maybe always has - been much more like my grandmother's notebooks than I ever realized. A daily hello to you and a recording of something that I'd like to remember or share from our everyday. As simple as that, and as simply led as by the date on the calendar. Freeing, that discovery, I tell you - even if it was all in my head and my approach and nothing really changed at all. To just let it be what it is.
Well, that was far more navel gazing than I meant to do today. But thanks for listening. The days are still quite gray and end of winter messy out there. But the rain is melting the snow and soon it will be gone. I'm continuing to knit all that rainbow goodness up that we dyed last week. Harper has been asking me for a new pair of fingerless mitts for a while, and that seemed the perfect use for his rainbow yarn. The pattern is Fingerless Mitts by Anne Budd, from the book Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick, one of the few knitting books I still refer to and will hold onto, though it's been ages since I last opened it. So long ago, apparently, that when I opened it I found notes from a homeschool field trip to the planetarium eons ago, and those two little drawings by Ezra. Yes, fourteen year old (next week) Ezra, obviously made quite some time ago. Nothing frame worthy, nothing I would have intentionally tried to save or record, but oh so dear in the reminder of our everyday.