Have you ever noticed how much you can learn about your life ten or twenty years ago by reviewing your cancelled checks? Even though they're not letters or personal comments, they contain a great deal of information if understood in the context of the events and times. A single cancelled check can open a closet door of memories and forgotten involvements. That's what I wanted to accomplish with my new journal of condensed comments about the year and its events.

This evening after the boys had gone to bed and after Yvonne had made love to me and rolled over to sleep, I quietly crept up the old pine attic stairs to our extra room and storage area. I was looking for a spare notebook to begin my planned "Events Journal."

Like many other century-old, hand-built farmhouses in rural Western New York State, ours has a full basement with log beams, a main living floor with a wood stove, an upper floor of bedrooms, and finally a full attic with wide pine boards and accessed through a trap door. Originally this attic had only two small windows, one at each end. Two years ago I added a dormer that looks out down the valley of corn fields and wood lots. On this cool September evening only the golden aureole lights from Darryl's dairy farm broke the rural blackness.

Under the dormer window is an old stuffed chair with wooden arms and a floor lamp with a tattered shade. For the past month I have used this as a diminutive island, a private escape, in my own home. Tonight I carefully closed the trap door and shut out the house and its contents below. Searching for a notebook to write in, I found a moldy storage box and sifted through its long ignored papers and bank statements from my life in the City.