New - Lois Greene Stone

            A coiled wire remained. It looked so frail yet had held twelve 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 sank into snow but would form green leaves in the spring, this wire had completed its cycle.
            I thought about the parallel with the human cycle. Yet as I affixed another calendar to the wall, it was also a 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 passed…. I could look at the rest of my life that way or see each January with unused and crisp paper as each beginning. The choice was mine.
            Touching the coil, it seemed to feel as if its strength yet flexibility was ‘me’. The kindness and attention I’ve shown and the philosophy I’ve passed down will remain with those who have shared that, grown from my listening to them and not merely hearing their phrases, and that’s my ‘spiral’, and my body 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 email, and…” My email. When a postal card was about to rise to two cents, I was so proud that I’d bought fifty 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 fifty 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 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.
            Discarded 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 twelve as tightly as it did page one.
            I affixed 2021 to the wall. Its blank squares will have scribbles of appointments, events, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, marriages, and so forth. The pandemic might mean these celebrations will be shared on Zoom, and hugs will be virtual, but we will pretend we are together for milestones. And, maybe, sometime during 2021, the pandemic will be history.
            I’d like to keep used 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 cellphones will be as strange as my tethered one, and their means of communication unique to those upcoming generations. They’ll have their own ‘penny postcard’ stories tucked inside them as they give their offspring and partners reason to write on calendar pages although I doubt it’ll be paper.

 Published December 30, 2016 The Write Place at the Write Time

Lois Greene Stone, writer and poet, has been syndicated worldwide. Poetry and personal essays have been included in hard and softcover anthologies. Collections of her personal items/ photos/ memorabilia are in major museums including twelve different divisions of The Smithsonian.