Lately I’ve been thinking about how the smallest things can provoke a memory. From a certain smell to the way the light catches your eye through the trees, a memory can be twigged in a millisecond. A trick of the light might make you think that you see someone you love in the distance, might make you wish you did.
Memories can be of family- the feeling of being beside your grandfather, sitting in the backyard with a garden that went on for what seemed like miles and miles. You might see a lampshade and think about said grandfather’s propensity to put random objects on his head, or whistle dixie while searching through the fridge for some pop. You might hear talk of the Blue Jays and think of his unfailing devotion to a team that, really, loses more often than it wins. You’ll find yourself thinking about the scrunchie emblazoned with the baseball team’s logo of which you were so very proud- it made you feel like a big girl, ready to take on the school yard.
Actually, memories are usually of family for me. Good or bad, its family that surrounds you. The way that life plays out isn’t always exactly as you wish, and sometimes loved ones leave you far before their time. Though part of you feels like an important part of your life is missing, the memories that play in your subconscious are sweeter than one might expect. Though memories can make you cry for wishing that someone was still there to share in the triumphs that life brings, memories can also make you smile in the knowledge that unconditional love transcends space and time.
Memories can be of places, too. Especially if you find yourself retracing familiar steps, you can feel your body and mind settling into old habits. Even if you’ve forgotten what it’s like to walk a certain path or stroll around a familiar tree, it comes back. Deep in the corners of the mind are hidden roadmarkers of which you were unaware. Every day that I walk my dog past my old house I wrestle the urge to skip up to the front step and into the red and yellow country kitchen of my childhood. And though I’m well aware that the new owners have probably renovated the kitchen by now, but in my mind it is still as it was.
There are many places I’ve been and people I’ve known. Some, I still see every day. Some, I think of once a month. Some memories visit me when I’m happy and others when I’m sad. It can take something as simple as a song or a trick of light, a smell or a doppleganger. Memories are etched in my head and inescapable- the human capacity to hold thoughts, ideas and love is truly something of which I am in constant awe. Perhaps it is due in part to the reverence I hold for memories that makes me want to create new memories to make me smile each day. It isn’t always that amazing party or big event that stands out in my memory, either, but the small things, the feelings, the excitement or the heart-swelling adoration of a child for her grandfather. The times spent playing in the neighbourhood park with friends. The hug from my mom when I fell off my bike and skinned my knee. Day to day events- memories are created every moment of every day. Who knows what the next trick of the light will remind me?