I was out in my backyard last night looking at the clouds. Earlier in the evening I had made a snotty comment about a vaguely ridiculous person from college. I didn’t want to keep going in that direction, so I started retrieving some wonderful but infrequently recalled memories:
Greg B’s jumpshot.
My wife and I painting the nursery a glossy purple and red with yellow stencils of stars and planets.
Cheryl R. saying “Go straight to Hell” when sufficiently provoked.
The Mythbusters exploding a water heater 200 feet into the air.
Bill C. (and I) sh@tfaced, hassling Scurves* in their lounge while they were watching The Longest Yard.
Mary Jo B. challenging an Apple VP on the efficacy of yet another re-organization.
Catherine P. channeling Natasha Fatale with “Moose and Squirrel.”
A festival in Tokyo that involving purchasing rakes decorated with images of whatever one wanted to obtain that year (money, marriage, and children were most common).
Brad W’s PhD thesis on collapsing piles of sand.
Stepping into the forrest near Sitka and walking on moss that felt 3 feet thick.
This directed ruminating put me into a pleasant fugue. These are short memories, but far richer than snapshots. With a bit of effort, I can set each of these recollections into its own room with its own particular slant of light, chirp or creak or ball bounce, the feel of the air on my skin, the scent of paper or gym or pine. For most of history, there was little chance of being remembered beyond a generation or two – and even then only by one’s family and tribe. I like that though, that our lives are precious and bounded. Memento Mori. Players strutting and fretting in our hour upon the stage.
Secrets are precious, and personal memories are the stuff of secrets. I know the old 90’s saw that ‘information wants to be free.’ I’m not sure that’s the case with memories.
Thinking these things over reminded me of one of my favorite moments in one of my favorite movies: Roy Batty’s final speech in Blade Runner.
It’s all too beautiful. Time to live.