A few weeks ago, I went running on the river trail in a canyon that's close to my house. There were still some piles of old, dirty snow, and the wind was bitingly chilly, but for the first time, it felt like spring: some of the naked branches on the mountain ash trees had started turning the palest shade of red and the big tooth maples had just the tiniest hints of new buds at their tips. More than that, though, the light was the color of spring (even though the temperature hadn't quite managed it).
The world reminded me on that run of how much I love spring. I'm almost as fond of it as I am of fall, but for entirely different reasons: spring is all about beauty coming back into the world, and about seing colors again, and rejuvenation.
It's about beginnings.
So I thought it would be a good topic to explore for April's Write Saturday: the beginnings we have in our lives. There are the large, noticeable beginnings—weddings and new babies, for example—that sometimes even warrant their very own albums. But there are also smaller starts, some that don't even feel like beginnings until you look back and see them in a different light. Looking at the start of something helps you see what you might've felt but couldn't see yet.
For nine angles to journal about some of the beginnings in your life, consider the start of:
1. a time period. The start of a new year. Or a new grade in school. But also think about how time structures your life in more specific ways: the start of a new goal or dream, a change in your daily routines, even a subtle shift in the way you live.
2. your day. OJ and oatmeal? The newspaper and some toast? A spin class and a smoothie? How do you start your day? In this layout, I wrote about both the rushed morning routines and the times we manage to fit in a warm cup of cocoa before school:
3. a habit. One of my sons is a whistler—when he's happy and engaged in a project, he whistles. And I still remember when he started this habit...sitting in the grass one summer afternoon when he was four, I taught him how to whistle. What habits do your kids have? How did they start? What connections can you draw between the start and how the habit continues? (I like to think that he whistles when he's happy because he was happy when he learned how to whistle!)
4. a responsibility. This could be something big like a new job. Or anything smaller, a task at work, or a school assignment, or a routine like homework. (Remember how it felt the first time your oldest child brought home homework?) For this layout, I wrote about the start of my son's snow-shoveling responsibilities:
5. connections to the things in your life. One night this week, my 16-year-old was looking through his baby scrapbook for a school project, and he came across a picture of our house, sixteen years ago—when our now-enormous sycamores were barely taller than me. He was astounded at the difference. We feel a connection to those trees—they are our trees, old friends. This made me think about the start of connections and I decided I need to make a layout about the beginning of ours with those trees. But we also make other connections to things in our lives. Our cars, for example. A favorite writer or TV show. And I confess: I have an inordinate fondness for my Bosch mixer. Document where the connections began.
6. a hobby or interest. I don't know about you, but I love scrapbooking! I've never made a layout, though, about how I discovered the hobby. I think I'll add that to my "to-be-scrapped" list. Our common hobby isn't my only interest and I bet it's not for you, either. Think about how you (or your subject) became interested in a hobby, then journal about it.
7. relationships. The most important things in our lives, of course! The stories of how our relationships start are foundations for everything. Write them down! In this layout, I journaled about how we told our kids we were expecting our fourth child...the very, very early beginning of the relationship!
8. your affection for a place. My family has a favorite little Mexican restaurant, where everyone has a favorite plate, the chips and salsa are perfect, and the waiters are friendly. It's become a once-a-month tradition, but we didn't even try it for years. The story of why we started going there is a good one I need to write down! The way that places become favorites is part of our life's story.
9. seasons. Right now, at the start of April, I'm in love with spring. But come the end of May, once my kids are barely hanging on to their scholarly ambitions and my spring flowers are just straggly greens, I'll be ready for summer to start! Our relationships to each season changes as the season progresses, so if you document how you feel at the beginning, you'll capture a unique perspective. Here, I wrote about the things we were anticipating at the beginning of the summer:
What beginnings have you journaled about? I hope you'll share with us!