A memory walk
Last weekend, I took a walk around my hometown with my nine-year-old niece, and it made me think about what we remember.
My niece is at an age where her memories go back enough years for her to have a sense of time’s passing. Stopping every now and again to remark on Ollie’s quirky walking ways, she related stories of her best friend, another friend she no longer sees regularly; what she was doing in the second grade, and how she lives now.
She chatted away, happily, recounting her stories (my bookish heart loved that she and her best friend bond over shared reading), but I detected a bit of wistfulness, too, as though she knows now that once something has passed it will not be recovered. In recounting what she remembers, I wonder if she’s trying to keep her memories alive.
What I remember
I didn’t tell her that as she talked, I was looking around at my hometown as I often do, trying to remember when it was truly home, and what it felt like for it to be home. Everything looks right, but my memories have gone hazy as I’ve made my life elsewhere. My mind needed to make room, and so the once familiar becomes strange.
I take in the shorter days, changing leaves, unsettling, as it’s often still hot. The last light illuminating flowers as if they were museum pieces, on viewing for me before they disappear, too.
I wonder if anyone told the turkeys that Thanksgiving is coming.
The beach I went to every day as a child. A church I once knew. I looked at both through the brush and trees about to turn. A yard sale sign offers free hugs, but also more to carry.
Yesterday morning, Ollie and I walked among the trees, and I thought about my niece’s memories, and about my own. Pack light, I whispered. It’s a long road.
Snaps from the week.