Peeking

One of the interesting things about keeping a blog is how easily you can compare what’s happening (or blooming) now with what was happening (or blooming) the previous year. This time last year, I was moving out of my apartment in Keene, which seems like a lifetime or two ago. When I remember how tiring it was to sort through, pack, and move the contents of an apartment I’d rented for eight years, I’m that much more grateful for being quietly settled this year.

Mountain laurel

Last night I remarked to friends that the mountain laurels seem to be blooming earlier this year than last, but then I second-guessed myself. Doesn’t summer sneak up on me every year, time flying faster and faster with every season? A quick blog-check reveals I’d included a picture of mountain laurels in an early June post in which I discussed Diane Ackerman’s One Hundred Names for Love, which I was reading this time last year. In 2010, the mountain laurels were blooming on May 26th, just like this year, so I was half right: the mountain laurels didn’t bloom this early last year, but this year’s blooming isn’t entirely out-of-the-ordinary.

Mountain laurel

Same Time, Next Year” was a film starring Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn about a man and woman who meet for an adulterous weekend every year for several decades. I saw the movie with my mother when it came out in 1978, when I was nine years old. I was probably too young for a “PG” movie: I don’t remember most of the details of the story, since the jokes and “adult themes” flew right over my prepubescent head. But what I do remember was how the two characters remained faithful to one another and their once-a-year commitment even though they both changed over time, their annual trysts becoming a kind of benchmark for the rest of their lives.

Mountain laurel

I “meet” with my blog two or three times a week, but that’s enough to keep the relationship between us alive. At any given moment when I want to compare my life today with some previous version, I don’t have to call upon an adulterous lover: my blog will do. This time last year, I was reading Diane Ackerman; right now, I’m reading Terry Tempest Williams and Alison Bechdel. Who knows what I’ll be reading–or what I’ll be doing, or what will be blooming–this time next year, but chances are I’ll still keep a faithful record.