In the end, we loaded our technology (computers, hard drives with all the historical pictures on them), my old Smith Corona typewriter (yes-crazy!) and we stood holding what we decided were the most precious things… our cottage journals.We began our first journal on our first day as we moved in to this place. Our kids’ friends wrote enthusiastic missives about how beautiful everything was. Our kids wrote about their feelings, capturing with words what their hearts were beating. “Powered down. Closed up. Fits perfect.”The words of our son as he did his first final closing at age 18.The journals number four now and have chronicled friendships, community losses, high points, low points, activities, picnics, first fingerprints of grandchildren, celebrations, achievements, jobs, retirements, comings and goings, weddings, funerals. Our life is there.We carried the four journals to the boat. The most precious.We were lucky, and so many of us felt lucky as the water bombing planes extinguished the fire and summer students were planted in the forest to seek out hot spots for a week afterwards.We felt so lucky.And so grateful. The journals are back on the bookshelf, fuller still after the summer of 2016.
I’ve thought about what I’d save in case of fire too. Likely everyone has at some point. I also think about my old diaries/ journals. I haven’t looked at most of them since the day I wrote the entry. At one point, moving from one place to another (again and again), I was at the point of throwing them all out. Journals are a link to our past selves. Sometimes a burden but irreplaceable too. I deleted an online journal I kept while I was going through a divorce. I don’t remember why I deleted it then. I’ve tried to get it back a couple of times but never found anything that worked. Gone forever, irreplaceable.