Seventeen years of Treehouse talk

Seventeen years of Treehouse talk

Friday, March 27, 2020

Nothing to Spend, No Place to Spend It: Toads, Butterflies, and Notebooks

Before all This Stuff broke loose, I was trying to do a couple of new things. I had splurged on a spiral-bound notebook divided into blank, lined, and dot-paper sections, to try out bullet journaling. (One of the only dot-paper books I could find at Walmart.)  I even had some flowered washi tape to make things pretty. But when things started getting closed and cancelled, my "weekly" and "daily" notes went up in smoke. "Do Laundry" did not seem to merit the same use of paper as "CM Study Night." Scheduling "Work on Computer" every day also seemed pointless.
I was also trying to begin a Hundred Days of Keeping notebooking routine (started by Laurie Bestvater). I made a few entries, including this one from Freedom of Simplicity, by Richard J. Foster, which quoted Dietrich Bonhoeffer (I'll transcribe it below):
"To be simple is to fix one's eye solely on the simple truth of God at a time when all concepts are being confused, distorted, and turned upside down."

Well, Dietrich Bonhoeffer knew something about times like that. But I didn't know then how true it would be for this year.

I also didn't know how hard it was going to be to keep up all those new notebook entries. (My hundred days turned out to be about six.) I had about as much success concentrating on that as the Butterfly did praying in Prayers from the Ark:

"Where was I?
O yes! Lord,
I had something to tell you:


What turned out to be more valuable for me was going through older entries on the same themes: simplicity, trust, faithfulness. Some of them I've posted on this blog over the years.

"'I take courage,' Aeneas said. 'Here too there are tears for things, and hearts are touched by the fate of all that is mortal.'" Edith Hamilton, Mythology

"Then there is what we may call the Courage of our Capacity--the courage which assures us that we can do the particular work which comes in our way, and will not lend an ear to this craven fear which reminds us of failures in the past and unfitness in the present." Charlotte Mason, Ourselves

"The tragedy is not that things are broken. The tragedy is that they are not mended again..." Alan Paton, Cry the Beloved Country

And this reminder:

"We do not stir. It is a hard lesson...Of course YOU know how to keep still, for you are children. And so perhaps you do not need to take lessons of teacher Toad. But I do, for I am grown up...with a world of things to do, a great many of which I do not need to do at all--if only I would let the toad teach me all he knows." Dallas Lore Sharp, The Spring of the Year

The toad is patient, still; the butterfly is simple, even foolish. Bonhoeffer's "simple Truth" is what they both know best.

 So, although I am keeping busy with the projects I've been working on (plus a couple of new ideas), and although I do have a work routine (Wake up. Do the getting-up things. Start working.), I am excusing myself from needing to document the fact that I'm planning to do it and that I did it. Instead, I've been playing with other sorts of looser, less time-sensitive "Journaling" pages. Places I want to go someday. Books to read. A page of spice mixes in my Enquire Within notebook (that's the household stuff). Things like that.

And one day I will have appointments and errands to X-off again.

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