Sunday, February 5, 2012

Memory 1001:31

This morning, sunlight and music dissolved my thick fog of sleep.  A hearteningly bright February sun slipped between
the slats, accompanied by the ethereal guitar of J. Blaska
 / .  Last night's aspirin immobilized all traces of arthritis, bursitis, and other souvenirs of age.  My senses, drifting around in the zone between Dead and Alive, felt like Heaven.  It was a fine way to start the day.  Maybe this kind of awakening is a preview of that famously discussed final act we all expect to share when the time is right: "Go Towards the Light."

So morning pours in my window in the morning, and sublime instrumental guitar pours into my head, and I am still sleep-stupid (which can go on for quite some time between deep sleep and awake). And there is enough dream-state left to resurrect memory as reality.  So this morning, I remember Hawaii. Or maybe it remembered me.  Either way, it appeared in my head like reality.

On the island of Kauai, if you drive all the way around the island from the tourist hotels and beaches, to the other side of the island--past the whale-sighting beaches and the tents tucked away between the huge tree roots and the helicopter rides--you eventually run out of road. At least, 12 years ago I did. And when the fading road went over a foot-bridge, it dissolved into a thin twisting ribbon of beach, with trees undulating between jungled forest and ocean. There was a bench someone had left on the bit of beach between the trees.

And on an island in the middle of a vast ocean, on a small beach facing the playground of whales, no one was there but me.

I remember this place sometimes. And there it was this morning, in my head, between the Light and the Music. I was, in this morning's quasi-reality, on the little beach in Kauai, years and distance notwithstanding.   Bliss.

I love Memory. The phenomenom of Memory doesn't really fit linear time.  Memory is not just Past Events, it is also Present and it is Future. Or it is Everytime.  Once something enters our consciousness, if we choose to remember it can be re-created.  Or we can hope for something and thereby remember our hope for it, drawing the future to ourselves; Expectation as Reverse Memory.  Or Memory is a fiction book.  Once a book is written down, its action remains constant.  At any time, you can experience the action or timeline of the book by opening it to a specific page.  Whether the action described happened in the story's past or the story's future, it is happening at the moment you read it.  You can go back to that page and that described event over and over, and it is still happening when you read it.  It has happened in the past in the sense you have read it in the past, and it will happen in the future in a sense if you have not read it yet, ever.  The Memory of a book is not unlike our own memory: it runs in a loop.  And the re-reading of it is a selective comfort.

As I get older, memories are a great source of joy and comfort.  Even if remembered events and people had negative aspects, I am getting good at harvesting the happy parts. One of my friends noted that its sad to lose Memories.  I can't imagine how that would feel.  But if space abhors a vacuum, so must the mind.  Whatever fills my thoughts, even if it is the simple view of what is in front of me, I am practicing The Art of Choosing Beautiful Thoughts.  A useful future tool for ageing.

Like Barbra Streisand sang in The Way We Were: "Memories can be beautiful, and yet-- what's too painful to remember, we simply choose to forget."  Good idea.  If I ever lose my mind, to paraphrase Cat Steven's (Moonshadow), I won't have to be particular about what I remember.  I hope I remember Hawaii, but I would be equally happy to remember Australia, Alaska, Greece, or Idaho--places I have never been, yet. 

It's got to be the thought that counts.