pretending to remember

"[kit carson] led me back to the world, to see how close i could bring my changing vision of possibility to the rigid nature of things. the stories i read made me feel as if i were threading a needle, squinting through whatever aperture the world would allow. . . a voice in the book told me then to watch and wait; it suggested that living and creating are one and the same, that writing is an act of faith, that, perhaps all real adventure begins in the imagination" (from Dreaming of Columbus by michael pearson).

i realize now that i've never stopped to appreciate the connection of memory and imagination. the people we've known and touched, the sidewalks and lawns we've strolled, the states and countries we've traveled--they all leave a nostalgic imprint on our life that, after time has had it's way with them, look rosier and brighter. sometimes i appreciate the moments more after they've aged, like wine. the skunky fermentation makes them strangely sweeter to swallow. in the end, it really doesn't matter what happened, only how we remember them. and make-believe is a handy tool.

still, if i'm honest with myself, an imaginative memory is actually pretty deceptive, especially since we sometimes have to rely on it for a happy past. i shouldn't struggle to appreciate a moment until it's gone, or race to take advantage of every moment to make it happy. instead i want to live s-l-o-w-l-y, presently, every day, and appreciate every opportunity. i want to forget about glancing backwards or forwards, and just let things be.

some of my fear is caused by the things i'm afraid i'll forget. like, for instance, books on my shelves that sit and meekly call my name back into their pages. i wonder if they're just dusty old chests holding memories i once had, like photographs, family outings, jokes, old recipes--all life-altering pieces of life, but of a past life. and then there's the other side. how can i find time to pick up each box, blow off the cobwebs, and dig through each revelation, idea, and enlightenment for the remainder of my life? time simply doesn't allow for that much introspection.

so how is it that one can retain all the literary and philosophical influences that one's read? i think back to a countless array of conversations spurred by scholars and storytellers, and i wish i could record those too. they would be some of my most valuable possessions if they could be possessed, but they're so elusive! mr. thick wind wasn't taught manners, and instead of politely knocking, he rushes in the door of the pub and yanks all our thoughts out with him.

i have hope, though. i have a feeling that they're never completely gone, that they find a way to weave into my motivations. i can only read so much, talk so long, and i want to live more than that.

1 comment:

joanna said...

"This book started writing itself with a remark from my spiritual director. 'Brennan, you don't need any more insights into the faith,' he observed. 'You've got enough insights to last you three hundred years. The most urgent need in your life is to trust what you have received.'"

[The first paragraph of Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning]