Tonight I went back and retraced activities in places from long ago. I went to the Annex in Toronto and walked around Harbord Street and Bloor Street, had a massive wiener schnitzel meal at Country Style and then went to see Jonathan Demme and Talking Heads great concert film, Stop Making Sense.
These are things I used to do often many many years ago, for the theatre that showed the film, the Bloor Cinema, used to play the film at least once a month in the mid 80s, it seemed. I lived near it then, and whenever I had nothing to do, I might grab some Hungarian food – for Bloor Street had a lot of Hungarian places then – and enjoy that film.
If you are wise, you will have places that are memory touchstones for you, places that you can revisit, that will be like a cache of good memories. Like any good cache, you can draw upon them as needed by going there whenever you needed to be refreshed and rejuvenated. I recommend you cultivate such places, places that you may not visit often but that are accessible whenever you are in need. A wise person also has such stores to get them through the leaner parts of life. Or perhaps you can look at them more optimistically and treat them like a rare wine cellar which you dip into every so often for that great bottle to enjoy and to remember.
Last week I watched a video of a line being retraced. As it was retraced over and over, each new line varied more and more from the original until the later lines were quiet different than the original. Still, there was that resemblance, that connection through time. So to tonight, when I was revisiting my old neighborhood, I could still feel some of the same things I felt many years ago, even though much has changed and I am no longer the same in many ways. For though much has changed, many more things in the places and the food and the theatre and the film, even myself…many things have remained the same. The line redrawn tonight had enough points in common with the lines I would often draw many years ago.
Memory is often thought of as a picture, or a storage cabinet, but memory may be like a flower. A flower, a rose perhaps, red, white, perhaps even tea stained, that opens up in the early morning just as you are walking by, walking in that distracted way we all walk when we are in a hurry to complete the ordinary, when out of the edge of our vision we see its
vividness and are drawn to come closer and soak up the smell of it and perhaps even mistakenly catch ourselves on its thorns. Memories may not be
passive things like files or photos. Memories may engage us and transfix and transform us, much like the rose that waves at us as we stroll by on what would otherwise by an ordinary day in our life.
We should cultivate the moments in our lives like the gardener cultivates her rose garden, for those moments will be our memories, our roses.
Posted on my Posterous blog at February 23 2011 via my BlackBerry Handheld.