How do we store our memories? I love this photo as it so depicts the way many of us store our photos, and sometimes letters or thoughts. I’ve written in the margins not only to comment or argue with the writer, but also to capture the way the author’s words or sentences send me on a rollercoaster of my own.
The other day I came across a card my mother sent some many years ago. It was in a book I’d gone back to for a needed quote. I can tell the span of years wherein her thoughts were sent to me by the ones she includes in her comments. Or by the questions: How is Angela doing in first grade? How is the dog doing? All healed from the operation? Did you make the spice tea for the theatre group? And oh my! what a flood of memories those words unleashed. Overwhelming.
Sure I have boxes of photos, some actual albums and dates and times and events. But how sweet to open a past loved book, and find within, the stored memories of a life lived long ago. It’s like a phone call from the past. For a few brief minutes we are transported to that world and we see that face, hear the laughter, and feel the kisses deep.
Above we have Squeek practicing to be a comma. She did succeed, and impressed many. She would also sit on command.
And here we have Squeek in one of her many box hideouts. She built compounds of plastic bags, boxes, and box tops. Though she wasn’t much for physical activities, she hid out well.
But the most wonderful thing about that beautiful creature is how she would look directly at anyone who was speaking. To hold her, cuddle her by turing her over, belly up, she would keep her gaze on you as if speaking soul to soul. Gorgeous black eyes. I feel honored to have had her in my life.
It seems we don’t know what we leave behind until it is gone. It’s also true that our songwriters, authors, personal diarists, all (if not in a singular voice) tell us that. But we take no notice. Even when we say, yeah, yeah, true, true. The problem, it seems to me, is that we can only take note of the past, our history. From here, from now, from a future projection— is nothing. We don’t know what will fill our memories, fill the file box of wrongs, loss, despair, and joy. Or we may know an example: the dog I love today will leave me to grieve the same as the dogs who have gone before. But we don’t feel it, we don’t know those things inside-out. Our mind observes, undaunted by Truths, only the facts. And so we stumble on, leaving behind the things we will mourn, or forget. And we forget the most important thing that the notetakers don’t tell us to remember. When we leave the old for the new, we need to be sure it is replaced with something of worth.