Reader, Walking: Firsts
It’s been a while since I’ve posted in this series and I have every intention of returning to it more regularly. Intentions, however, don’t always get the post written. So I’m going to sit and take a moment to write kind of off the cuff, and perhaps not as polished as normal … but to write.
Since it’s spring, I’ve been thinking about Spring Ephemerals and the Calendar of Firsts. It’s the most glorious time of the year for wildflower hunters. Seemingly daily something new is happening and keeping my Calendar of Firsts up to date becomes a chore – a loving chore – but real work to open it and update it each day.
I keep mine in a 5 year diary, and it’s fun to see when what happened last year or the year before (when I began to actually pay attention). I say that, but I also keep it in my Google Photos which pops up memories regularly of the wildflowers I’ve photographed. This is a bonus in keeping track of what sprouts in what order so we can keep our eyes open for them.
This is akin to someone commenting or liking a book review on GoodReads (or my blog) from years past. The memories pop up and I’m often happy to reshare or revisit a previously read book.
The process of collecting firsts and seeing them year in and year out keeps them in mind. What a blessing. We don’t forget having seen cutleaf toothwort or bloodroots or, best of all, different trilliums.
However, I have been contemplating the danger of focusing so much on “firsts” and not relishing the continuing abundance. Of always looking for the novel and not resting in completion. I’m trying to be intentional this year about going to visit the “patches” to see how they abound more and more every day and not be in such a hurry to find the next new thing. To enjoy the fullness, not merely the beginning.
A funny thing happened recently. My friend Anna, when asked what audiobook I should read next, recommended to me My Man Jeeves. I thought, “That sounds good; I’ve not read any Wodehouse.” So, I listened, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Then I went to add it to my GoodReads (by rights I should’ve added it when I started but the app is hopeless for finding the audio versions, so I often log it later) and found that I had read it nearly 10 years ago. I had absolutely no memory of that previous read.
Keeping a reading log is valuable. Rereading is valuable. Going back to see more and to find the depths rather than being in the shallows of the firsts is valuable.
By all means, enjoy the firsts. Log the firsts. But don’t just stay there. Go back and explore the more.