Sunday, July 24, 2011

the rooster and the cricket

In a few days this place will once again pass into memory. I will search for tastes and smells and sounds and find that they will slip ever so easily away. I will look for the way a smile gives a away an other wise incredulous sounding suggestion and find it missing. I will forget how each and every hand I shake, body I hug is sticky. The sweet smoke of the sugar mill, or the taste of young coconut milk will fade. Memory is like that…

We work so very hard to hold on to certain memories because of how much they mean to who we think we are. But in the end memories have a way of having a mind of their own. Stubborn little buggers that slip away in the night – when the cricket and the rooster make a changing of the guard over the night songs. Even the ones we keep are themselves only hollow copies of the real thing.

We hold a memory tight but never completely. We only hold those things about the experience that serve our purposes. It is not really a complete picture of what actually happened. It is a copy and it serves us to reinforce our identity.

Then there are a few rare times when memory catches up to us and folds us back into a dynamic experience full of all the original stuff. We are completely at the mercy of a long ago.

Nostalgia is a sloppy mountainside upon which to build a selfhood. At any moment the torrential rains can wash away the meaning all you’ve built. The way things used to be is easily wipe out by progress, development and change for its own sake.

A self without memory is just as fickle a space.

Regret is the vilest of tricksters in the memory game. Regret is a really only a thinly veiled arrogance that claims to deserve better than what was received. Regret sets out traps for memory so that when it comes calling it will get tangled up in the insincerity of one unwilling to admit that in the end  - life has been way better than should have been. Life is hard but it is good. It isn’t always easy but it is worthwhile. Life can steal and rob joy and contentment – but it is full. This isn’t careless optimism – this the humility we should aspire to live toward.

As sand slipping through our fingers – the last cup of Nicaraguan coffee will be swallowed some weeks from now. My clothes will go back to smelling Canadian again. I will shake dry hands. I will eat french fries. I will smell a barbeque roasting steak as i run through town. I will stop at stop signs. I will see the wide horizon open down to my toes. I will water my lawn. I will forget.

I will forget but I will cherish. I will put up a sign on the front porch inviting memory in. I will always tell the rooster not to step on the cricket on his way out the door to call in the morning.

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