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.
I couldn’t agree with you more. As adults, we have much more “experience” under our belts. I have had so many random thoughts that seem unrelated pass through my consciousness, and instead of capturing them in a journal, they flutter in, through, and out, never to be visited again unless my subconscious has logged it away as important. It’s amazing the number of times that I have jotted down seemingly meaningless and irrelevant information into a daily journal and then have gone back to read it at a later date only to have it make perfect sense in hindsight.
There are sometimes when things strike you during the process of writing, and other times when they dawn on you much later. Either way, it certainly pays to keep a journal. And just so you know, your not alone on the unsuccessful contemplation of life, death, and the way different members of our species chooses to handle them in such different ways. Thanks, as always, for sharing your thoughts, and for the subtle reminder to pick up that daily journal that has been gathering dust on the bookshelf.
This is lovely, Robb. I was having these same thoughts this morning as I tried and failed to avoid the opening news page on my browser.
This is where audio journals are wonderful. You could have pulled your phone out and recorded that emotion, saved for later transcribing or eternity.
I’m still sad, though. When you write this story, would you give it a happier ending?