This time of year, the weather gets colder and colder. The morning comes in like peppermint breath, and it takes me a little longer to unfold from the blankets and start the day.
When the days are longer, when morning mints sunlight instead, I don’t make a habit of starting the day with my phone. But this time of year, there’s something so lovely about holding a little torch in your hands and warming yourself by the light of the entire world as your own little slice of it wakes up.
Two years ago, in one of these early virtual strolls, I saw a post from Twitter or Tumblr about collecting your favorite poems. It suggested an as-you-go collection process, culminating in a notebook full of printed copies. This was a few too many steps for me, but I did begin saving them.
I made a little gallery on my phone, and now there are over 200 of my favorite poems to sunlight serenade me through the day. Some have been favorites since I was a child, some I newly discovered o my hunt for this project. Some are from poets that have been long gone for years, and some are from Owen and other poets whose numbers I have saved in my phone.
I don’t save every good poem I find, or even every perfect poem. I save the ones that tell the loving stories I tell myself about my life, and life, and love. Sometimes I need the story told back.
One thing I’ve learned from this process is, there is something to be said for as-you-go collecting. It sharpens your gaze to the world around you. It makes you more deliberate in your sight.
It’s similar to writing a new blog post fresh every day. (You best find something in this world worth stacking words on, and if that fails, let us hope your head is flat enough to hold the words you must say about yourself.)
I’ve decided I’d like to start a second collection this coming year, but I haven’t decided what it should be.
I like the idea of art. Though I’ve curated a decent collection in my Instagram Highlights, those are about something beautiful. This would be more personal.
I’ve also considered text messages and DMs and comments without context. I love my loves. Scrolling through a garden of you would be quite lovely in the crispness of earliness.
And I’ve thought about photos of random things that I think are beautiful. I already take these, but they usually get lost in the fray of life. At some point, I wonder why I have forty-five pictures of a rock, and I delete them. I wonder what a year of beauty from my eyes would look like in retrospect.
Most likely, it will look like a thousand pictures of rocks, but even that could be a lovely and sturdy way to brave a crisp peppermint morning.