“… Your analogy yesterday wasn’t up to standard.”
“I’ve got flu.”
“I suppose… Anyway it’s reassuring when you fall below your usual standards…”
“I get used to seeing you as not human most of the time.”
“… not fallible.”
“Careful… that’s almost a compliment…”
“I could pretend I meant you’re not human because you’re a hobbit…”
I didn’t like to tell him that my other bête noir ( no, not Ani, the other one..) is currently likening me to a gnome…and a laughing one at that….
He had already… quite inadvertently, I admit… likened me to a force of nature…when the lads had got mud on the nice cream carpet…
“Leave it, let nature take care of it.”
…By which, it seems, that as things like housework seem to just happen, I must be the ‘mother nature’ concerned.
I have to make allowances though… my son is not well either. He’d never make the mistake of giving me two compliments in five minutes normally…
We’d been talking about memory. It is a subject that has a conscious place in our discussions frequently as Nick should not really have one. For a long time there were huge holes in his long term memory and there are still blips in his short term recall… one of which had caused the conversation.
Mine, of course, is hit and miss. I can still take down the right book from the hundreds on the shelves and turn to the right page for a word, phrase or concept… but ask me where I put something an hour ago… as we found out yesterday… and will I know? Not on yesterday’s showing…
As a rule memory is something that we simply take for granted and accept will get selective or faulty as the years pass. Because of Nick’s injuries we have been in a position where we are conscious of memory and how we use it on a daily basis. We have likened it to document storage on a computer, where the programme pages hold files and each file holds many subfiles, going levels deep. A bit like a huge collection of photographs held in folders but not clearly tagged.
Memory is not lost, it seems… just the path to access them.
The paths we use often we remember and can call up the files instantly. The files that hold our dearest memories.. or those with most import… we can find easily… others need a trigger, another memory, to bring them to light… an association trail that leads to a dusty file unopened, perhaps, for decades.
I read something this morning that took me back to childhood and brought a gentle tear.. an echo of a grief and a questioning long since forgotten. Not wholly… the events are easily recalled, but the emotions, the state of mind, the questions raised.. and sometimes answered… by these far off events we often lose. Many such memories we think we recall, but are actually watching from a detached perspective as if on a screen. Then something picks you up and puts you back down within a lost moment and it comes to life in a completely different way.
You still bring all the subsequent years of experience to bear on the memory through the mind, yet you feel it from within as if you were the you of then.
It is a sort of time travel, and perhaps has the possibility of being far more valuable than a time machine. If we simply look back we either see or shy away from memory. Yet if we can relive the moment from within and bring all the lessons we have earned and learned to the griefs and traumas of our youth, perhaps we could heal the scars the memories leave hidden in their wake, the things that clutter the computer’s cache affecting its performance in the now.
I am no advocate of living in the past. Or even of yearning towards a future unborn and unwritten…the future will be as we make it, and that happens only moment by moment. Now is the thing. Yet if the past has unhealed scars that nag and pain it distracts us constantly from the moment and clouds our vision, like trying to see the road through a grubby windscreen.
I wonder how much we could heal those scars ourselves if we revisit the memories with our hearts and the wisdom of the intervening years instead of with the distance of the surface mind? Treating the child, the young adult, the hurt soul, with all the kindness and common sense that we would offer to a friend in those circumstances… for we are seldom kind to ourselves in retrospect. We might make excuses, or cringe occasionally, but I don’t think we offer the kindness of simple forgiveness and understanding to our younger, less experienced selves.
Just musing here… but I think that sort of makes sense.