Captured and preserved
“But in a jar put up by Felicity,
The summer which maybe never was
Has been captured and preserved…”
The beautiful cherry blossoms pictured above were on display inside the Sackler Gallery weeks before the local trees were in bloom. I asked staff there “are they real?” and on being assured that they were, I asked where they had come from. Apparently they were cultivated in a greenhouse and arranged for display as a sort of complement to the profusely blooming trees that showed up much later than people had hoped for in 2013. Thus visitors to the Sackler did not have to leave DC without seeing a single cherry blossom!
As this blog nears its first anniversary, I am thinking of all the unexpected blessings I have received from my impulsive Saturday-morning decision to start it as a means of staying positive in the face of seemingly relentless bad news. I feel so fortunate to have enjoyed the online company of people I know and love in “real life” as well as those I have never met in person.
A side, benefit, though, is that I’ve documented here, in both posts and comments, many memories that are otherwise not recorded. Even if I ended this blog tomorrow (which I don’t plan to do) I would still have quite a voluminous compendium of photos, thoughts and ideas from me and from many others. Perhaps this is my own version of the pickled watermelon Tobias wrote about in his beautiful poem, which has long been a favorite of mine.
As a librarian, I’m an archivist at heart, and this tends to work against me in some ways, leaving my home cluttered with annoying piles of papers, cards and memorabilia that I never seem to get around to sorting. Despite the tendency to save far more than I should, I still believe there is something valuable in cultivating, capturing and preserving the happy and good and beautiful aspects of our lives. As with the cherry blossoms above, which provided a hint of beauty that cheered disappointed visitors who found the famed cherry trees still bare after they had traveled long distances to see them, our carefully preserved memories can brighten the days of waiting for anticipated blessings that often seem agonizingly long in arriving.
What can you do today, to capture and preserve something beautiful from your past or present as a gift to your future self and others? Maybe it’s something as simple as a shared memory in a personal note or card sent to a loved one far away. Maybe it’s taking (or revisiting) a photo of something fun or wonderful. Maybe it will be a journal entry, or an exquisitely crafted scrapbook page, or a blog entry. However you capture or preserve something beautiful, the time you spend will be worthwhile, as it carries a double blessing: cheering you today, and bringing reminders of hope, joy or love to yourself and others in the days and years to come.