My sweet sweet box of journals: the lined green leather one from Greece, the one composed of napkins stapled together, the uniform French Claire Fontaines. Of course the contents of these charming tomes is anything but sweet. Who writes about the good times? Yet there is this wonderful undercurrent of hope and delight in the beauty of monuments. When I open the present volume I am humbled by the fact that it is #87; my hunch is there’s a bit of repetition in these pages! But the quotes! What great authors have accompanied me on this journey. My sweet, sweet journals. Begun my junior year in college in Greece where my real birth occurred, their presence has meant that I have never been alone. Every trip I take begins and ends in these pages. They hold my past like no photographic record ever could. They make the past present, the present past, the future a clean white page.
In my daughter’s eyes….
As I fastened the child safety seat Lauren looked up at me and said: “you know I’m living by my wits alone.” Little did I know that was a line from Charlotte’s Web and this utterance was not further proof that I was living with an Old Testament prophet. It had always seemed as if Lauren, beatific as the Smiling Angel from Reims Cathedral, was the sage soul who was patiently teaching me the basic steps to the tarantella we call life. When Lauren was born, I found myself a single mother in need of a teaching job. The south was kind, a good place to heal a broken heart, surrounded by well-mannered students eager to watch Lauren and introduce her to the mysteries of collard greens and black-eyed peas while I frantically prepared lectures. In a way, Lauren became the mascot of the art department at the college. Twice before the ripe age of 6 she accompanied my colleague and me as we conducted 25 students through Greece to study the ancient monuments. If we were discussing the myth of the minotaur at Knossos, Lauren was engaged in leaving a trail of Barbie accessories to assist Theseus should he attempt to emerge from the labyrinth. Was it those early forays into the past that made her so passionate about travel? In my daughter’s eyes I see the world scrutinized by an unfailing sense of justice, subject to both her wit and wisdom, and above all, to her compassion. Like Olivia, the princess of olives, who reigned supreme in the stories I would tell Lauren, she is destined to taste all the olives in the world before she chooses her future home. It is only in my daughter’s eyes that I see my home; she is the diamond in my heart.