To Feel What I Felt

The other day I was reading through some old journal entries and found this excerpt.  I had always journaled off and on while growing up, but this was the beginning of my commitment to writing.  I haven't blogged in quite a while... so once I came upon this tid-bit, I was reminded of why I love to share my thoughts and experiences.

When I was growing up, we lived in a neighborhood with woods separating our block from all the others.  In one of my neighbor's backyards there was a huge gully that lined the woods.  I used to go there nearly every day.  Agates and wildflowers were plentiful and free for the taking – you were limited only by the size of your hands and pockets.  Near the center of the gully was a secluded embankment covered by blades of grass the length and texture of girls’ hair.  Willow trees surrounded it, and the sunlight coming through their leaves created a lacy pattern of shadow that I always wished I could pick up and lay over my head like a mantilla.  Day after day, I lay on that small hill and watched the shifting patterns of clouds and listened to the birds.  I could not identify the birds themselves, but I did recognize their calls.  Sometimes I made my own sounds to call back; whenever I did, there would follow a moment of abrupt silence during which I assumed the birds tried to identify me, then gave up and went back to business.  I found this satisfying; it made us even.

I could hear the earthbound animals rustling in the grass, sometimes far away, sometimes thrillingly nearby.  The air was warm against my skin, as comfortable as my many-times-washed flannel nightgown. There was the rich smell of black earth everywhere, and I pulled it far down into my lungs, wanting to keep it by making it part of me.

Whenever I was at that place, a sense of peace came into me like a religion.  I wanted to tell everyone what it felt like to be there; it seemed like information anyone would want.  This happened with many things I saw, or heard, or felt.  I wanted to share them.  The simplest things mattered so much to me: a school of tadpoles swimming darkly by in the creek I found in those woods, the thin wail of a baby; the smudged pastels of a sunset; the smell of pot roast cooking in the oven to be Sunday's lunch.  And the bigger things, too, of course: the mysteries and hurts, the fears and longings, the questions about why and when and how.  I had a deep need to give voice to all of these things.  Maybe because I wanted others to feel what I felt, to share in both the beauties and the devastations that life can bring.


I miss that place.  Mine and God's place.  It was the place I ran to when I couldn't bear the real world - and the place I went to bask in how magnificent my Creator is!