The journal of the journey

Journalers are different than journalists. Journalers are those of us who travel through life making a journal of our lives. Some people write journals, some journal through music or painting. Yet others journal with their ears and eyes and mouths. We see something, we hear something and our minds journal it in our souls. We later share our journal entry, the one made by that beautiful day when sun kissed mountaintop and flowed green over the meadows with wild splashes of wildflower dotting the landscape, which is now the wallpaper of our souls. Or maybe we share tale of woe, the one about the disappointingly stale bagel that we just ate. In either case, and in so many more, if we travel the road with integrity and awareness, our focus creates a journal that is tucked away in our souls’ hard drive.

Every good journaler needs the tools of the trade. For me a most important tool is my box. Sometimes the box is the container for the journal. And sometimes the box is contained by journal entry. As we journal our way through life the box has many uses. My box is a replica of a tinderbox, carried by the mountain men about 150 years ago. I enjoy the firm pop as the hinged lid opens wide or closes down. My box is four inches by five inches in all its small brass glory. It has protected small precious items from destruction. My box is the protector of small fragile objects. It has carried cigarettes and other smoking mixtures and incense. When my box was a hippy’s stash box, it seemed to reflect the colors of light differently or maybe that was just me. It has been an admirable ashtray, that is portable and cleanable and relatively hassle free. It has carried all that a journaler might call “miscellaneous. My box has even been used for its original purpose on cold winter nights in the shelter of my teepee or tarp, lighting the warming friendly fire with flint and steel and, of course, tinder. I seem to remember that the box almost sighed as I placed the tinder, char cloth, flint and steel neatly under the hinge. Was it my imagination or did it shudder with the sheer joy of being used for its intended purpose.

Every journaler needs a box, and every box should come with a whispered warning. “Carry your tools in this box but never climb into this box.” We should all have one, but we should always be outside of the box. We should think outside the box, live and love outside the box. Love and life and thought should never be protected from the world by a box. A box is not our home it is our tool.

Thoughts on a small brass box

I carry you with me along my long, lonely journey.

In heart and hand, pocket or pouch,

Your weighty presence comforts and councils.

Elegantly on my desk you rest, useful in emptiness.

In my mind’s eye I see you waiting to be of service.

Your hinged jaw opens wide to receive and to give,

Incense and ashes, flint and steel.

In warm brass comfort you hold

hand rolled cigarettes and day dream images.

And at night, as you close with a satisfying, metallic bonding,

You bond me to you with the metaphor message of warning:

“I will hold your small things and your great hope-filled visions.

But never climb inside, do not let me close you in, enclose you!”

You whisper: “I will contain your things,

But I will never confine your dreams.”