Memory and Present

From time to time.

**Though having visited the Grand Canyon, I’ve always wanted to trek along and through it on horseback. Perhaps, one day we shall.

                Memory has some interesting qualities.  I’ve heard/read that often, the memory is unlike the real.  More so, the further we’re removed from those events, the memory is even further removed.  But I wonder how much of that is due to our own emotions, thinking about those times, and perhaps our hopes and thoughts about those times.  More on this in a little bit.

                I think memory, in part, is where we get the idea of time:  past, present, and future.  We remember things that have happened, and that also gives us the idea of what might happen in the future.  Yet, in a sense, there is no past or future, for we only live in the present.  Always in the now.

                However this happens, we “retain” memory of events, but those memories are not the events themselves.  They’re what we’ve observed, perhaps reacted to, and so forth, for I’ve been wondering why during those early years, some things I remember but others are long forgotten. Perhaps, some things had an “oddity” about them, other’s were new and filled with wonder, and some created reactions.

                For instance, during my third year on this planet, I remember my father holding me up at a farm, looking at some what to me were large pigs (Of course, that was because I was tiny.), and when I was placed back on the ground, how large they appeared close up.  I also have a few other memories of that day, but that’s it.  Over 99% of my third year is gone or hidden somehow, perhaps somewhere in my brain cells but not consciously privy to me.  And like many, I can think of other years where only one or two things return upon pondering. 

Decades later, we visited that old farm, and I think there was a pig or two, but of course, being much taller and older, my new memories vary from the older ones. But I still had a fondness for that time, when I was little.

                When I once returned to a place we’d lived for several years, which I thoroughly enjoyed walking down memory lane so to speak, I also noticed that some things were not as I remembered.  Some were, like the tree we spent many an afternoon climbing and playing tag, even building tree forts.  However, things and spaces I remembered being far larger were small upon returning.  And a couple of people I did remember had changed, though that might just be time and tide. 

                But there’s another aspect.  Perhaps many readers can relate.  How we view people.  Sometimes, we might have a view of someone, yet upon seeing them again, find a different aspect that was there when we first saw them, but changed in memory, that upon seeing them again, altered our conceptions while away. 

                But to a degree, and I’ve been noticing this more, that also occurs right when people are talking to one another, which I imagine, leads to changes in memory as the “thinker” is doing something in their brain we’re not privy to.  I’ll share it this way.  We have a neighbor, that I first liked, but now avoid (I don’t look to avoid, but simply no longer look to meet up and talk.).  I think he’s a nice enough fellow, but after the first couple of small chats, he looks at us differently.  Something’s changed.  Early on, we just made a few comments, talked a little about college football or the weather, and parted after a bit.  Neighbors you know.  However, since then, he’s always talking about himself, his career, and so forth, though we never indicated a great desire to know all about him and his life.  That’s something he did in his own head.  And his perception of us has changed.  I gather, he sees us as people to discuss his life without end, a conversation he’s having in his head whether we’re there or not.  And as such, he doesn’t really see us anymore.  Certainly not in the present.

                And I think, most if not all of us, do that to some degree.  We see people.  And we see people as we would like to see them, or perhaps in not liking them, we see them in ways that support our not liking them.  For instance, a college friend of mine I used to think was a very good friend, and so, I had good memories when apart, looked forward to seeing him again as when fishing, hunting, or just hanging out with friends and family.  However, as we grew older and apart, finding disagreements increasing, I noticed both of us becoming critical of the other.  I gathered, that supports whatever narrative is going on inside our brains.  But is that the truth or simply a means of fitting the world as we would see it? 

                Because, I had experimented, to a degree, with this.  A friend and his significant other are often together.  While I enjoy talking with him, I didn’t as much with her, for she was always critical of others, always trying to find fault and correct.  However, I decided since she’s with my friend, I will make the effort.  And guess what.  We found some commonalities, argued a few times, but more times we were working to help one another with the business.  And now, when people talk about them, I say she’s a nice person.  Yes, she’s critical, but she’s well-meaning.  But what changed?

                Our memories, as I see it, are both the events but how we reacted, what we noticed, and what connected to whatever is going on inside of us at the time.  But as a simple recording of events, I’m not as certain.  For when we “think” of the past, which did happen, but only when it was in the present, which means no longer exists. Except in our brains. But not entirely. For there’s another quality. For what we do we always do in the present, and in that, echoes.

**How much of our lives are affected by memories: both those we remember fondly and those we wish to let go? Hmmm…..

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