My mind continues to present challenges in my everyday life or perhaps they could be better described as minor detours. The first emotion that arises when the detour sign appears is one of frustration, I have things to do I don’t have time for this, yet I’ve learned that with a little patience something wonderful may revel itself. Yesterday was just such a day, I had spent the morning sitting on my porch marveling at the beauty of a fine June morning. It was warm and peaceful, the sound of birds filling the air, I was feeling centered and at peace. I suddenly found myself captivated by how the air smelled and how the light itself had a certain feel; I knew I had a memory residing somewhere with this exact scent and visual trigger and set about to locate it deep in my childhood memories.
I finally found it deep in the file marked “Adirondack Mountains.” I’m instantly carried back to summer vacations, which when growing up always meant camping in the Adirondacks, a place so different from my home in a suburban neighborhood of Long Island. It was an escape from blacktop and concrete, a completely alien environment compared to the other fifty weeks each year of my life.
It amounted to my father’s annual pilgrimage to the cold trout waters of Northern New York, a duty he took very seriously. I, on the other hand, was not quite so enamored with spending hours in a twelve-foot aluminum boat or standing on the bank of a tiny stream engulfed in clouds of mosquitoes, the purpose of which was to catch a stinger full of eight-inch brook trout that I didn’t eat anyway. I look back wanting to feel the warm nostalgia of that childhood but at this point I’m not feeling it. I’m sure that were very enjoyable times deep in those woods; but now when I look back it feels lonely.
The thought that a particular memory could feel lonely triggered another detour into the nature of how we remember. Is everything now colored by my current reality, by my identity of today? Have my memories slowly evolved over the course of my lifetime? Do the feelings I recall actually exist as a part of the memory or are they added as seasoning when recalled.
I’m left to try and decide if I’m recalling those memories accurately, was that reality or am I rewriting history by recalling feeling that were not there, remembering them in a way that makes me feel better about myself.
I don’t know how to find the answer for that question and more importantly whether it makes any difference at all at this point. I have managed to spend several pleasurable hours contemplating this and I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed the unexpected scenery on this detour.