Excerpt from Dorothy Wordsworth’s Journal

This was one of my favorite scenes in Dorothy’s journal. I remember being in one of the best – (you’ve heard people say “frames of mind”? well I am going to say) – best frames of soul that I have been in during this phase of my life – the phase starting around when I really began to settle in – to college, and to life on my own, in that strange but beautiful town. Now days I don’t know if I can even pretend that I am still in that phase. I feel like that would just be an attempt to delude myself, in an attempted healthy (optimistic) way, but still: it would be false. So I don’t know how it could be healthy. Although, I was in “that phase” still quite recently. I think that pain from a girl, from love, has tugged me back into a metaphysical void; like drifting, floating in a – birth canal! – almost. Or maybe more like a fallopian tube. It’s dark, lonely, eerie in “this place.” Whatever this place is.
It is the pain of unreturned love, and fear that that will always be the way, which causes this place to be all those things. And I think I just figured out the main part of what makes it “like a birth canal,” but not: it is this state of loneliness which I had been existing in prior to my feelings for the girl, and to my feelings about life – about myself. I had foolishly, carelessly allowed my heart to venture to hope, and envision how it could (or realy, I think I probably foolishly told myself it “would” be this way) if we were to be together. Anyways (*come back to this later) I’m being foced to return to my prior state of life, of thinking, – where I am alone, and without hope for the feelings to be returned – and instead of hope, the place is filled with pain mingled with fear hanging in the air. That is the atmosphere of this place, this strange, otherworldly cave that I am floating in, not sure what to make of it, not sure where to go next; outside of the cave is the blackness and endlessness of space. – Jul 2 2018


“After tea I walked to Rydale for Letters. It was a strange night. The hills were covered over with a slight covering of hail or snow, just so as to give them a hoary winter look with the black Rocks – The woods looked miserable, the coppices half shriveled up as if they shrunk from the air. O thought I! what a beautiful thing God has made winter to be by stripping the trees & letting us see their shapes & forms. What a freedom does it seem to give to the storms! There were several new flowers out but I had no pleasure in looking at them – I walked as fast as I could back again with my letter … ” Friday May 14th 1802 entry, Oxford World’s Classics publication of The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals by Dorothy Wordsworth.

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