08.49, Wednesday 18 Feb 2015 Link to this post
One of my earliest memories is my 4th birthday, or at least I’d always thought so till about 5 minutes ago. I used to remember it vividly: We’d moved into the new family house just about a month before, we’re in the room with the heavy wooden furniture, my cake is on the big wood table and I blow the candles out. Now I can remember once having the vivid memory, but somewhere along the line the direct memory has faded.
But did we have furniture only a few weeks after moving in? It was imported, I know that much – there’s a story about the van carrying the cabinets and chairs and whatnot, charging off the ferry onto the land in a storm, catching the instant where the ramp is touching the jetty. So the timing doesn’t add up for me. Maybe it was my fifth birthday or my sixth.
It’s a happy memory, that birthday - my 4th or 5th or 6th - because I remember being delighted, and my family are there, and (maybe?) I was being picked up to blow out the candles, and (even more maybe?) my nan was there – I mean, seriously, who knows.
So I carry all these different types of memories all bundled up: vivid ones, emotional impressions that anchor me to family, ones that might be literally true and others that are at least true in spirit, stories about ferries that I was never there for but none-the-less there they are, memories of memories. Things that happened yesterday, this morning, ten years ago, when I was ten, a memory - maybe - and I’m reaching here - a shock-wave backwards in time of what I’ll do in 10 minutes, 10 weeks, 10 years: again, maybe true, maybe only true in spirit. All part of me.
I find that a hopeful picture, because it gives the idea of “memory” a broad reach, and I get to include the memories and stories that probably started elsewhere: my family, my friends, my pets, my books; all together, more or less, all alive, to a greater or lesser extent, in me.
That’s my school t-shirt, my guess is we’re in Kenya – so I must be 6? Do I look 6? We went to Kenya when I was 6. I’m wearing my dad’s expression, which is lovely to see.
Once more around the sun, though not closing loops because the sun itself moves. So we carve a helix on the cosmos. Lives, screwed into spacetime.