Last week a little birdie taught me the value of keeping a journal.
I was driving to work down Whitehorse Avenue at seven forty-five in the morning when I came across an injured sparrow in the road. He was flapping and fluttering his heart out, yet all he accomplished was to tumble and propel himself in circles. It reminded me of a child wearing swim floats on his arms, splashing wildly while drifting helplessly into the deep end of the pool when his feet no longer touched the bottom.
From twenty meters away, I instinctively positioned myself in the lane so that I would straddle my car over top of the little guy. As I closed in within ten meters I thought whether it be best to put the little fellow out of his misery, but within five meters decided it wasn’t my place to intervene. As I passed him I looked in my rear-view mirror and continued to watch him spin in circles.
At thirty-seven years old I suppose I’m middle aged, and I continue to recognize I must be getting soft in my old age. A few years ago it was recognizing the awww factor of playful kittens, and now, the heart-sinking feeling of watching a painful death to a wildlife species that can fit in my hand.
For the next twenty minutes of my drive to work I contemplated life and death. Specifically, I tried to understand (unsuccessfully, I might add…) how some men can rationalize that they have the right to end the life of another man through methods like propelling bombs or firing guns. How can this savageness come from a species who yet can also be touched by a small injured bird?
All this deep thought naturally led me to conclude the value of keeping a journal.
As students we all at one time experienced the assignment of keeping a journal, shrugging the feeling of having nothing important to write nor recognizing the therapeutic value. As adults, and specifically as adult writers, a journal captures the most important story we can ever hope to write in our own lifetime.