Memory Habit

Dear J-

Well, June is turning out to be a month of motion. I have friends and family flying around — my officemate is visiting her parents in Turkey and my parents are leaving for St Louis tonight along with an uncle. They have been a traveling quartet for the past couple of years and it puts me in mind of the road trip we all took back in 1982ish, Spokane to Edmonton and Banff in a rented red Ford Fairlane sedan (four adults and four kids; how did we all fit?). We spent some long hours and miles on the road and as I was the youngest aside from another cousin who was a baby and therefore fit on a lap (aha! no car seats, that’s how!) I usually ended up squished next to grandma.

I feel like telling that guy he’s missing half his fork. Nope, it’s just a Cannondale.

It’s hard to think that it’s June already, but that’s just how the days have gone this year; before long we’ll have little more to show for 2014 besides a handful of photographs and fond memories of experiences. Again they say the mind remembers experience better than things and that’s as early back as I can remember. In 1979 (1978?) we took a road trip around to different places: Seattle, Montana, Canada; I can tell you about the time we had to get the Cougar up on a lift to replace the exhaust, which had shed itself as we turned into a driveway, or how a piece of plywood made a makeshift bed out of the rear bench (the non-carseat era!) but I can’t remember a single souvenir from that trip.

Things break. Minds break, too, if there’s any truth to what I hear in dark family whispers. Yet memories and photographs retain indelible impressions of the past, the evidence of some long-ago time or place we shared together. I’ve said before what a boon automatic metadata are for my impressions of the past; I’ve managed to geotag all of the 14000+ photographs on flickr and sometimes when I’m tired I like to bring up the map, pink dots littering the map all throughout California and somewhat beyond, now looking back on San Diego as an important part of our past, but of the past, again. Drive that point home. We are not condemned by our past but circumstances; that’s why we remember and struggle to escape the legacy weight of our habits.

Mike

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