I thought I would be the last person on Earth to do this task.
I am deathly afraid of forgetting. I journal compulsively. I carry a small notebook in my purse in which I periodically scribble phrases or images or conversations that I Don't Want to Forget. I save schoolwork from the third grade, notes and gifts given years ago. I am entirely too sentimental. For these reasons, this task seemed beyond me.
But then I remembered that there are some things I wouldn't mind putting behind me.
Everyone has a way of letting go of the things that hold them back. Emotions they'd rather not feel, experiences they'd rather not remember. I have my Let It Go box.
In this box are several pieces of paper. Each piece of paper represents something that has given me some amount of pain - usually things that I found myself unnecessarily holding onto. Things I was dwelling on or obsessing over. Things I've felt the need to Let Go. In this endeavor my sentimentality has become useful. I've been able to actually attach my negative emotions to these little slips of paper, and by putting them in my Let It Go box, I've been able to lighten my mind of their load. For a truly nerdy analogy, it is much like the Pensieve of Harry Potter.
There is a reason I did not destroy these slips of paper directly after writing them. I don't want to deny the existence of these moments or emotions. They happened, I felt them. The goal of the box is not to destroy the negative things in my life, but simply to let myself be free of them. They still exist, but they are in the box. I don't have to dwell on them anymore.
This is why I felt that, for this task, I couldn't burn these pieces of paper or throw them in the trash or shred them to little bits. I don't want it to be like they never happened. Instead, I want something to grow from them. I want to turn their negativity into new life. So I decided to plant them.
At first I didn't know what I wanted to plant with my Let It Go papers. I settled on the California Poppy because I know it thrives in this area and no one would mess with it. I went up to Lime Ridge Open Space
with my trust tasking companion, Bill the Dog.
The first thing I noticed when we arrived was that there was a crowing rooster in the parking lot. What it was doing there, I will never know. I took a picture of it, hesitatingly, because it was directly in front of a truck where a couple was smoking a bong. I didn't want to freak the poor people out. I heard the guy say "She just took a picture of us..." and I reassured them that I was merely photographing the very surreal rooster.
Bill and I then travelled into the golden hills:
And up a smaller, less trodden, path, looking for the perfect spot:
We finally found the right place, open and sunny with a beautiful view:
And I began my task:
This is the first time I had ever opened the box, so I had no idea how many pieces of paper where in there or what they said. I chose not to read them - I didn't wish to revisit these incidents. I wanted to leave them behind. It was difficult to resist, due to my natural curiosity. What is more interesting than the secrets you keep from yourself? At times I caught a date, or a name, but I didn't reread any of the slips of paper. I did count them as I placed them in the hole I dug. There were eleven. Now, this seems rather magical to me, as eleven is my favorite number and holds special significance. It felt even more right to be planting them at this time.
If Bill thought I was acting strange, he didn't show it. I expected him to run around and explore as I did my task, but he sat behind me, pressing into my back, as if he could sense I could use some support.
My poppy looked rather small and lonely as I left it behind...
... but I know it has a lot to grow from.
PS: Both the rooster and the couple were gone when Bill and I returned to the parking lot.