By Lois Greene Stone
A coiled wire remained. It looked so frail yet at one time, had held 12 large pages. December had just been discarded and the spiral had no more use. Unlike the outdoor trees that had exposed limbs and their trunk bottoms sunk into snow but would form green leaves in the spring, this wire had completed its cycle.
I thought about the parallels with the human cycle. As I affixed another calendar to the wall, it was also another sort of beginning. My birth year was getting farther and farther away and those rejected/used pages from decades of numbers was plumping its passage of time. Less ahead than what had passed... I knew I could look at the rest of my life that way or see each January with unused and crisp paper as a new beginning. The choice was mine.
Touching the coil, it seemed to feel as though its juxtaposition of strength and flexibility was me. The kindness and attention I’ve shown and the philosophy I’ve passed down, will remain with those who have shared these things, grown from my listening to them and not merely hearing their phrases, grown from not just witnessing or hearing my life's lessons, but internalizing them. That’s my "spiral"—my body is just the used paper that gets recycled in the blue box.
The phone rang. No longer tethered to a wall, as during my girlhood, nor heavy; I slid my finger to "open" an icon, set it on my desk, and said “hello.” Penny postcards peeked into a part of my memory when I heard, “Grandma, I got your e-mail, and...” My e-mail. When a postal card was about to rise to two cents, I was so proud that I’d bought 50 and could use those that I showed my mother how grown I was to think about that in advance. I had no idea that I’d have to buy 50 additional stamps to use for mailing. I assumed anything already in my possession was okay. She didn’t laugh as she explained life to me. Her kindness spirals inside my head although she and my father share a granite headstone. Few use postal cards today; fewer buy picture cards as camera phones click and transmit our own time and place and not what someone else once deemed was important to record on a mailing rectangle.
My heavy shellac 78rpm music that woke as a diamond needle touched a groove was obsolete when my children were born. Their little players were 45rpm with a fat hole in the center and the breakage was not an issue. Discarding piles of years, now a tiny device holds thousands of songs; cassette tapes have vanished, and CD’s will soon be a memory. Ah, memory. That’s the coiled wire that withstands tugging papers from it monthly, and firmly holds page 12 as tightly as it did page 1.
I affixed 2017 to the wall. Its blank squares will have scribbles of appointments, events, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, marriages, and so forth. I’d like to keep the reminders as a diary but they’re more like a log, and logs are just what and where; my diaries were details of thoughts and feelings. And when I have no more allotted calendars to display, the memories built with loved ones will continue, and their cell phones will become as strange as my tethered one, their means of communication unique to those upcoming generations. They’ll have their own "penny postcard" stories tucked inside them as they give their own offspring and partners reason to write on calendar pages—although I doubt it’ll be paper.
Bio- Lois Greene Stone, writer and poet, has been syndicated worldwide. Her poetry and personal essays have been included in hard & softcover book anthologies. Collections of her personal items/photos/memorabilia are in major museums including twelve different divisions of The Smithsonian.