Until next time
Published 1:45 pm Friday, January 21, 2022
Now, for the rest of my life
Until next time
On January 1, someone told me that, as opposed to last year, 2022 would be my Year of Chaos, since I repeatedly call myself a “simple person.” I say that mostly because I enjoy the simple things in life. I’m quite vanilla, when I’m not daring myself to inch out of my comfort zone, mind you.
I like the simplicity of my life, but my friend said he thinks this year will hold lots of surprises, chaos, and tons of growing up experiences. Which––can I be honest?––scared me to hear.
Speaking of growing up, let me share a story with you about childhood.
We’ll begin with this: Christmas 2012. Specifically, December 19, 2012. I was thirteen years old, just blossoming as a writer. A couple days later, the family would get together, my aunt and uncle were driving up, and I knew the holidays were about to be bustling with lots of people. So I did what every thirteen-year-old did––I dove into the woods with a coat and a leather journal and a pen and started writing.
(Just kidding…I was the only kid who did that).
I remember that day, seeking the quiet moments of peace before chaos, and I embraced it––the simpleness of a quiet moment––and I wrote about it.
Here’s a quote written from myself at that tender age, sitting upon a grassy hill in the middle of the woods, where I’d found a slice of sunlight on the chilly December afternoon:
“I look at the tall grass beside me. It is eye level with me, so I reach for it and pull it closer to me. Then I let it go. I figure I should get home, so I kiss away the smell of the woods. Until next time.”
I carried around a leather journal while I was thirteen and fourteen years old, recording those simple moments. Those “life” moments. And during the snowstorm earlier this week, I pulled out that journal, wiped it off, and fumbled through the old pages. I’d written, at that early age, about my life and friendships and relationships with family within the span of a year.
My cousin and I were inseparable. My aunt had passed away, so my mom suffered the loss of her sister. I suffered the ending of my friendship with my cousin. And the journal covered every detail of those days and all the days I ran into the woods to play and climb and write.
It began with me sitting on this hillside in the woods, and it ended with my words describing the emotions behind losing family and friends.
On that hillside before all the loss happened that following year, I think I became a writer. Undeniably, irrevocably a writer.
Because during that year, I found myself seeing the poetry in all that loss and emotion. That little leather journal that I started writing in on that hillside documented the moments that shaped me into being the irrevocable writer I am today. Perhaps I enjoy the simple things in life because I spent most of my childhood simply loving the woods, words, wilderness.
Nowadays, I think I’ll keep that journal close to me so I can remind myself often of who I am and how I came to be. And every time I close it, I’ll be reminded of all the stories that are to come, whether chaotic or simple. Or both.
So that was then, folks. And now, for the rest of my life.
By M.M. Cochran