Slow morning, today. The weather here is dreary, the air like thin soup, the sky pressing close with a fine misty rain and low slung, iron white clouds. I’m safely ensconced within my bedroom, going through old photographs and CD’s, placing the first in a photo album, transferring many of the latter into my iTunes.
How easy it is to archive the past, to slide and slot different memories and experiences into their compartments, label them and then… forget. Not that they can’t be recalled, but things grow dim, distant, and stop being relevant to your day to day life. As if they happened to someone else. If we are the sum of our memories, than the loss of their acuity is a loss of self, to a degree. Leafing through old photographs the memories come creeping back, like the dead come to sup from Odysseus’ blood. Death Valley, my friends and I throwing ourselves down those vast dunes to tumble head over heels to their bottom. Bryce National Park, wandering lost amidst cathedral spires of rock weathered down to iron reds and sultry orange. Sunsets over Amherst, or dancing outside the Sultan’s palace in Istanbul as sleet made the white marble floors of his courtyard slick like ice. The winding Xingu river as it wends its way into the Amazon, the ancient, weathered hills of Portugal, long abandoned Chinese crematoriums in the dusty interior of Australia.
It’s a morning for tea and quiet music. I’m going to set this photo album on my desk so that on occasion I can leaf through it. And in revisiting my past, remember who I am.