Driving home tonight, sticky with sweat from a day in the heat and 3 hours of dancing, I found myself thinking about some of my teenage escapades.
One event in particular stuck in my head. Let me preface this by mentioning that my group of friends had overactive imaginations which often wandered into the supernatural.
We lived in a rural area which wasn’t far from a large, metropolitan city, in terms of miles, but lightyears away in terms of outlook. There were a lot of quiet, remote roads for us to explore, and oftentimes, our explorations took place at night.
Driving down one such road one night, we found ourselves approaching a tree which formed an arch over the road. As we drew closer, the area under the arch seemed to emit an eerie, white glow. The first thing we all thought of was a ghost and actually convinced ourselves so well that when we drove through the arch, we all felt a chill, despite the warmth of the summer night.
We quickly turned around and left the area, but the incident stuck in our minds long afterwards and was, for as long as this group of friends stayed in touch, one of those “do you remember” moments.
What amazes me the most is that an incident like this, with no real impact on my life, then or now, can come back, decades later, but in such vivid detail that I can actually feel the shivers of anticipation and the tendril of hope that we might actually see a real ghost!
What makes some memories circle back upon us like this? I could see it if the memory was something which changed my life or influenced me in some way, but this was just teenage foolishness,
Memories can often be triggered by photographs, and I experienced one such example this week. My sister had sent me an envelope full of pictures that were in my parents’ belongings, but which she thought I might like to have. Most were pictures of either my daughters or me as young children. But there were two more formal looking pictures which I thought I recognized.
Upon investigation, I discovered that the pictures were of the cousins I thought they were, and one in particular was taken at the younger one’s bat mitzvah. Suddenly, a whole slew of memories flooded into my brain. I remembered heading off to Great America in San Jose with several of the cousins in the hours between the service at the Temple and the evening reception. We ran around the park for several hours (my first ride on the Demon with its double corkscrew and loops that came right after a dark tunnel!) then headed back to hotels for showers and changes of clothes. I vaguely recall sitting down on a group of ottomans and passing out from exhaustion later in the evening.
Again, I ask, why did all of the details flood back into my brain?
Our minds are amazing machines, capable of so much more than we realize. But still, I have to ask, why do some memories come back so vividly while others, which we desperately want to retrieve, stay stubbornly in our foggy past?
Too often, there’s something I really want to remember, but it’s like trying to hold onto a dream I dreamt last night. The more I try to retrieve it, the further away it slips. Are there things we’re just not meant to remember?
This will go into my pile of things to ponder when I have the time or the inclination, but it’s been a long and eventful day which has worn me to a frazzle, so I’d best get my gratitudes in before I POOK.
My gratitudes tonight are;
1. I am grateful for good friends and good times.
2. I am grateful for portable fans when the temps hit triple digits.
3. I am grateful for air conditioning, (see number 2 above).
4. I am grateful for compassionate people.
5. I am grateful that I’ve learned to let the toxic people go from my life, and grateful for the understanding that they have to walk their own paths, and it doesn’t make them bad, just different.
Love and light.