Cleaning off a book shelf today, I discovered an old pocket calendar & journal from 1994. I had to take a few deep breaths to regain my equilibrium after reading some of the entries and comments I had made and had mercifully forgotten. I usually do not bother with the past. I firmly believe that the only effective way to deal with life is not to drag the past along. Yet it is sometimes instructive to rummage around in a box of memories just for the odd bits of wisdom that may be hiding in there.

Fifteen years ago is a lifetime if you have been moving forward. 1994 was the year of my second divorce. It was the marriage that wasn’t supposed to fail. Of course, they all are supposed to last forever. Lesson learned: nothing is forever – specially if it involves matrimony. That was the year I learned to live alone. I had never done that except for brief periods during my first flirtation with singlehood. And I did only flirt with it. This time it took most of two years to realize I was pretty good company and I actually enjoyed spending an evening with myself.

One of the notations in that date book was on the first Wednesday of each month. There was an organization called The Live Poet’s Society that met then and I enjoyed being a part of that. I was attempting to write a poem or two from time to time and participated in the readings that our little community sponsored. There was also a small theater group that gave me an opportunity I never dreamed to have. I was in with a group of good kayakers and became a kind of pseudo kayaker in that I swam more rapids than I paddled. These activities gave to me much more than I gave to them but it was nevertheless a rewardingly creative and exciting period in my life.

When I saw the date on the final decree of my divorce I had to smile at the unanticipated irony. The date of the decree was the exact 45th anniversary of my first marriage. I was alone at the hearing in district court in Bangor, Maine. I never felt more alone. I walked out of that court room and got into my truck and sat there with all those years tumbling through my mind and couldn’t think of the next move.

I am pretty sure that were it today I would have had the forethought to being along a bottle of Sapphire Gin, a sandwich and some chips, and I would have taken those accessories to a great spot I know overlooking the ocean and forgotten reality for a few hours.

In truth the year proved to be a very social and productive year for me and one that put me on the path that led to where I am now. Now is quite good.

I rediscovered and build up some old relationships and began to think outside the tightly limiting Central Maine Box. It was I, after all, who was limiting myself. It always is. Geography is just geography, and time, well, marches on. All roads lead both ways. I took one that said “Do Not Enter” and it was the right way.

I won’t look into old calendars again soon. I have a stack of journals two feet tall. So far I have managed to avoid them. Here I am writing new journals about old journals. I envision a midnight fire in the woods out back, probably at the winter solstice, where I burn all those pages of the past and lighten my load for the year of coming light and new discoveries.

I’m Jerry Henderson

1 Comment

  1. Well, let see, in my life, in the year 1994, I was only the mother of 1 with number two on the way. Soooo, yes Jerry, 1994 seems to me to be some years away, as well. Sometimes I find it actually helpful to look back on life in the past, for many reason, but the one I intend to mention now, is to evaluate, as you have mentioned, where you are now. I’m sad for that day in your life but I’m glad you chose the road you did. Keep well!Michelle

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