Gently Down The Stream in anticlimatic

  • Jan. 21, 2023, 11:28 p.m.
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  • Public

You ever get smacked in the brain with the sudden clarity of a memory not recalled in years? It happened to me sharply the other day (and also to lesser degrees on the regular), of a particular Christmas season in my adolescence. It was the winter I spent most of my evenings with my grandmother (one of 3 I had at the time) who lived more or less on the other side of my back yard. My mother and I weren’t getting along so well at the time, and my grandfather had recently passed away, so the area in his small one story house that he used to occupy became available in a sense. My grandparents had separate bedrooms and separate living rooms, each with their own table and recliner/TV, each separated by a single mostly open wall. After dark I would slip out the back door of my house and walk a narrow trail through the starlit snow to her backdoor, grip the perfectly round brass handle, and let myself in to that sweet old yellow linoleum smell you probably haven’t sampled in 15 to 20 years. The smell hit me. The twinkling lights of the holiday decorations, and the quiet flickering TV glowing her section of the house. I’d spread out a giant puzzle on the table of my grandfather’s old quarters and tune into some old sitcoms a la Nick At Night. In the dark cozy kitchen I’d microwave snacks, and I can still remember that giddy feeling of anticipating Christmas, yet dreading the holiday pageant that was to be performed just prior to it. Every little bit about that moment in time and space in my life came rushing back to me and galvanized itself there.

It always seems to be the cozy places in childhood that are often the most sheltered from the cold and violent world of adulthood and responsibility. Like my old bed, gazing out the small square window at the streetlight on the corner and the trees dancing in the breeze around it. Or waking to discover I have been airlifted from bed to a large blanket on the sofa, struggling to make sense of strange things being broadcast from whatever strange world this was that I had only recently begun to occupy. The look of my old kitchen from about the height of the counter tops and the smell of burnt toast and warm milk for my new baby brother. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in myself, if these old memories really get on a roll.

I’m sure you’ve heard that the body regenerates itself completely ever 7 years or some such. I looked into that recently and discovered it wasn’t exactly true. While it’s true for most parts of the body, including bones, there are a few parts that don’t regenerate- or reaerate much slower than the rest. The camera-style lenses of our eyes, for instance, are about the same ones we were born with- but the most significant part of the body that doesn’t regenerate are the neurons in our cerebral cortex, most of which are responsible for bearing our memories. As I believe that memories and experiences are what shape us into what we are, distinguished from others, I believe this to be the tangible location of the human soul. Not in the bones or the heart or even the brain exactly, but in a tiny electrical column down the spine.

A Pedestrian Wandering January 22, 2023

There is a tremendous sense of calm in this memory you shared, I felt like I could see it. If I understand correctly, the senses of smell and hearing are especially significant in the recall of memories. Tomato sauce always takes me to my boyhood home because we lived near the Hunt's (ketchup) plant.

anticlimatic A Pedestrian Wandering ⋅ January 22, 2023

Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

Sleepy-Eyed John January 22, 2023


I remember Return of the Jedi

anticlimatic Sleepy-Eyed John ⋅ January 22, 2023

Twas the best of times!

Sleepy-Eyed John anticlimatic ⋅ January 24, 2023


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