Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Strange Walk That is Memory Lane

Nostalgia's a strange thing. Okay, maybe not, but it is a curious thing that so many find reaching into mail boxes on memory lane such an addicting sensation. Most of the time nothing is there but junk mail. Sometimes, however, letters completely forgotten are pulled out and delivered anew. Maybe it's a memory sent, maybe received, doesn't really matter. More than likely it's a memory less than happy. Why, after all, would it have been forgotten? Or perhaps it was a lie to begin with, and tearing open the envelope is tearing open a painful wound to the truth.

Memories repressed set, still-sealed, underneath the coffee table or in a shoebox in some closet. Naturally, what's written on the pieces of paper inside can be remembered clear as day, but a stubborn refusal to accept an overwhelming sense of embarrassment or shame prevents any acknowledgment of such defining moments of life. That bully will never not exist, and that lie will never become truth.

Heavy are memories denied. Blind spots in the mind's eye that can make simple undertakings near-impossible tasks. A dying moment with a friend or an enemy, words exchanged in angry nuance burned in stone, eroding and fading under the winds and sunsets of time. Sudden revelations at inopportune times.

And then there are the memories unknown. A version of events recorded from too subjective a view, so much so that what really happened was never even remembered. Those replete with summaries, dossiers, and photographs stuffed into large manila envelopes. Too technical to comprehend fully, and too important to every truly forget. A wrong door, a grassy knoll. A betrayal, perhaps. Tiny sections of puzzles that take lifetimes to piece together.

Letters opened may reveal the worst. Or may reveal something an adult mind signs for without hesitation, but an adolescent mind addresses to the end of the world. No doubt, there's still some hesitation in the acceptance of such memories. That people's behaviors and perspectives are the direct results of such forgotten memories is no lost irony. Everyone seems to identify history by the journeys taken by great men and women that others have recorded. Letters recording world events, dug out of the ground. History's events, yes, but not humanity's, which are so painfully defined by what can't be remembered.

And why memory lane is the strangest walk of all.

3 comments:

  1. Bill Golden at 8:42am June 27
    It's a good addiction unless it overwhelms your future.

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  2. I liked the entire second second paragraph. From the first line to the last. And, "Heavy are memories denied."

    I haven't read this one before. It left me a little sad.

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  3. I sometimes wish I didn't have any heavy memories,denying them would be preferable. All our versions of events are subjective. There is no absolute truth in memory.

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