i. My journal. I open the scratched, dusty cover, and press my nose to the worn, musty pages. I inhale once, twice, three times, and I close my eyes as I take in the familiar smell. It smells sweet, like the flowers I pressed between its pages. It smells like the lead from my yellow No.2 pencil. It smells like the memories and dreams I once recorded. It smells beautiful. I flip through the pages by the warm glow of my lamp. Photographs and messy handwriting and sketches flash before my eyes. The dates scribbled on the upper right-hand corner change. Time passes. I run my paint-stained hands over the ink splotches and scribbles and the crinkly spots on the paper where my tears once fell. I re-read my entries, my poems and thoughts, and reflect on how far I’ve come, how much I’ve grown.
ii.My hammock. It has stains from the rainy nights I forgot to take it down, and when I accidentally spilled my iced tea. It has sticky spots from where the sap fell from the pine tree above. It has bird poop from when the birds mistook it for a tree. It’s blue and green hue has faded from the sunshine. It smells like the stars I used to talk to while rocking back and forth. It smells like the midnight rain that soaked it once. It smells like the outdoors: always growing, and fresh. It feels smooth. Soft, almost. Like the fabric of my favorite pair of shorts. It sounds like the rustle of trees. I can hear the strumming of my acoustic guitar, and a soft voice singing along. But I can also hear laughter. Laughter from when we tumbled out of it accidentally. Laughter from when we spilled the box of nerds we were eating. (There are probably still some in there, somewhere.) Laughter from when we shared our favorite jokes and cheesy puns. But I also hear silence. Silence from when I fell asleep in the middle of the day. Silence from being speechless under the beauty of the night sky. I still can hear the quiet, serious chatter from when we talked personally. From when we had soul chats, and shared our hearts with one another. I hear the prayers I cried to God. Some thankful, others broken. I can feel the peace again of God’s creation: the birds songs, the lush green grass, the golden sun. I can feel a different kinda peace now. A peace from when he answered my prayers, or sent me a blessing. It’s all so messy, but it’s beautiful. And every time I wind up its straps and stuff my hammock back into its pouch, I stuff good memories along with it.