Some Things Stay

June 14, 2004

Wherever I am, there will always be breakfast. Whether we wake up at seven or two. I’ll make it. I hope you don’t mind that I’m worthless at making eggs. Bright pinky-red strawberries in shiny silver bowls. Sweet smells drifting upstairs. A little dog content under the table and my daffodils in a vase. Coffee. An open window letting in the morning breeze. Shelves lined with my teapots. Sitting at the table cross-legged. Making every day last a year.

Earlier today I was digging through my old journal, the one I started in the early part of 2001 and that I kept regularly for most of the next 10 years, only slowing down with posts a few years ago. It is odd, being able to look back in time like that. The things I worried about seemed so big then. Now, looking back, distance and maturity makes them appear much smaller.

It’s less the events and more the person writing them that interests me. She seems so different. I wonder, if I could tell her anything, would I? I’ve watched enough movies about time travel to know how much havoc that can wreak. It’s probably best that space and time keep me from communicating with my younger self.

In spite of all the differences, there’s something about reading those words and finding in them something that is still true. So little about my life looks the same as it did back then. But there are parts of it that I can trace from the beginning of that journal, clear through today, a few true, steady things that remain.

When he started to speak, I couldn’t concentrate. I was sure he had spotted me in the audience, and I was trying to guess what he was thinking. How did I look to him? How different was the woman of twenty-nine from the girl of seventeen? — Paulo Coelho, By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

I am a quarter inch taller. I have mastered most of the ways an egg can be prepared (still rotten at poaching). If you look closely, you may spot a snow white hair or two peeking through my black roots. There are fewer questions in my eyes and, I think, a touch more confidence.

Really though, looking past external, circumstantial changes and the sometimes naive tone I had, so much of it is the same. A few years ago someone asked me if I felt I had changed much in the last decade of my life and upon examining where my head and heart were about things, I concluded that I didn’t feel I had changed much at all. Not at the core of my being.

Maybe it’s a flaw, looking back as I do, like Lot’s wife. I am not convinced. There is something steadying about turning and seeing who you were and knowing that many of the things you have faith in, hope for, and love remain the same.

As it happens, this 2000 page anchor of a journal once bore a title that makes more sense to me now than it did when I plucked the words from the pages of a book…

Some things stay.

Reading Lately

My reading has been slow over the past year, but more satisfying than I can remember it being in a long time. I’m trying to remember the last time I read a long string of books that stayed with me like some of the most recent ones have. It must have been 2004-2005. There were a number of books I picked up for no good reason that ended up on my favorites shelf during that particular year of college.

This most recent group of novels that I’ve fallen in love with all came to me in interesting ways. The way I found the one I’ll talk about in this post was through another. I first heard about By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept when I saw a quote from it somewhere and decided to look into the author a little. I think in the first place it was because I was looking up something about Central Station, a favorite film of mine that comes from Brazil. (And now that I type that I realize in a way this is a little more circular in nature than I thought.) It was the name that grabbed me though. The thought of it. That image. Such a busy place and there, outside, sits a weeping woman.

I found it, I read it, and I loved it, and when I was entering the information on Goodreads I began typing the title, hit “enter” without paying attention, and ended up on the page for By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho. (Coelho is Brazilian, Central Station is from Brazil, there’s your circle.)

by the river piedra i sat down and wept paulo coelho

 

I don’t want to oversell it, because there are some of you who won’t like this at all. I absolutely fell in love with this.

Perhaps love makes us old before our time–or young, if youth has passed. But how can I not recall those moments? That is why I write–to try to turn sadness into longing, solitude into remembrance.

This is a love story.

Continue reading “Reading Lately”