Somewhere between Fort Rodd Hill and the Tsawous rez where I camped for the night, my little black notebook disappeared. All my notes from the past year at Upaya and beyond, my lists, contacts, ideas, drawings, quotes, maps, jokes. The archive of my experience, the fresh tracks of my mind. The one item most precious to me: fallen away. Taken by the road.
Maybe it fell out of my pannier as I scrabbled for someÂ sunscreen. Was run over by a car, bloated by rain, shredded by a lawnmower, swept up by a worker in a safety vest, tossed into a dumpster. There is a hole in my memory like the tip of my left thumb where i cut deep with an exacto knife, dead to the touch. The loss has made it hard for me to write.
On the first page was a plea, return this book PLEASE, and my email and phone number. No one has called. Words painted on the cover in a silver spiral: gate gate paragate parasumgate – gone, gone, gone beyond, gone beyond beyond. When i remembered that, it made me laugh.
So I got a new notebook. The first thing i scrawled in purple ink on page one: START AGAIN.
I think now that i will write ‘gate gate’ on all my precious things. On my keys, my wallet, my computer, my bike. Tattoo it over my heart. And then when they are stolen or broken or lost I will grieve, and then laugh, and start again.