I sit quietly alone on my terrace watching the sun set on the day, as I have done oh so many times before. There is one particular sunset I do recall. Though it was only about 4 years ago, the night was still, the air a pleasant spring time damp. Torches of candle flame stood tall without nary a breeze to fight. This sunset is a memory. I ask myself just when it became so and just why. What was so different than all of the other nights when most probably, the setting was just the same? I ask myself “Will tonight become a memory and if so, when?”
When does an event cross the line and become embedded in our hearts or mind. Why is a memory thought as one a day later, but forgotten with time? We use the terminology in the present that it will “make a great memory”. Such a fun time, a sad time, an unexpected moment, but does it always make the cut, does it really? No, it doesn’t. We forget it. We can possibly recall it with help, but it is not embedded as a memory free for the taking.
I can recall a time when I was about 4 years old popping tar bubbles on a telephone pole one hot summer day. Why? Was it the sensation of the goo on my fingers that nothing else ever matched? What was it? Why is this afternoon of my life still so vivid? The first Beatle album I ever listened to and just exactly where and how I was sitting on the floor of my neighbor’s bedroom at the tender age of about 6. When my dog got sprayed by a skunk. I am sure that memory and the tomato bath she received that night was perhaps distinctly because of the odor I encountered all but once in my life.
People. I have memories of people whose life crossed mine for not more than 10 heartbeats of my own life. Why them? What subconscious meaning did they give me? Something, for sure. Why do I recall them now? Today? Why do my friends have vivid memories of times with me and I, myself, have no recollection of that moment?
The mind and the way it files and retains events selectively is astonishing. Are memories to treasure, to learn from, or to keep a mental note on just how fast time flies? A marker for where we were then and where we are now? As a reminder of simpler days, of harder ones, as ones we didn’t even notice or appreciate in their presence (Hence, a dog’s tomato bath). Will this evening 10 years from now be a memory? I doubt it, but I never expected tar popping to be one either.
Memories, What do you think???