Living Our Memories

January 16, 2008
By Zack Folsom Folsom, Deerfield, NH

You all know the feeling of reminiscing, so sweet, yet so unfinished. So many times have I been talking with a long-time friend or a friend long lost and thought to myself, man I miss that. What is wrong with the lives we lead now, what is the purpose of reminiscing? It seems so hopeless to dream about how good the past was when it has been so set in stone. Why dream of the past while the future rolls on every minute you dream. Even as I sit here writing this, I subconsciously feel my future being sapped by my past. Do we all wish for someone to control our lives while we just sit and gaze into fragments of time scrap-booked together by our mind from days long past? So easy it is to look down upon reminiscing as a counterproductive use of time, so why can’t we let our pasts go?

I recently returned to a place buried in my past so long ago, only the cold reality of fall could bring back. Found at the top of mountain overlooking a swamp far below, I found a piece of my mental scrap book. As I set on the rough granite that seemed to hold the same warmth as I recalled from long ago, I realized that it was the only part of my memory that hadn’t changed at the hands of time. The trees far below held the same beauty as the ones of my past, and still I couldn’t look upon them with the same fascination as I used to. The Cedar Waxwings that call the mountain home aren’t as glossy as those of my memory though they are probably the offspring of the ones I remember. Have I been smoothed into society as another machine like the adults that I vowed never to be like? The giants of my past seem to pale in the harsh realism of the world that I have now.

I needed to feel my past; I needed to be in it again. I stood up quickly, bursting into sudden movement. The cold air, an omen of fall’s approach, pushing my hair back just as it had in my past. I feel rough dirt and rocks passing under my shoes as my feet pump the familiar steps that I traveled so long ago. Still I travel faster, pushing my limits, until I rely completely on my memory of this place to keep me safe, relying on the next boulder still being around the copse of trees I swiftly pass through. Seeing the familiar rock, I surge forward with renued confidence in this place. My feet make contact with the rock gaining traction, I reach the top and sail off the other side. Never looking down, I trust that my legs propelled me over the pool that laid on the other side. I need to find my faith in this place fulfilled not only for my own safety when I land, but for more. The wind rushes past as gravity plays it’s role. I count down my fall until my feet make connection with the ground, and my past. My legs cushion the landing, the pool sitting feet behind me.

My legs recoil and I speed on, my future racing on ahead of me. I chase my future down the mountain of my memories, content with what I found. As the grade flattens under my feet, the page of my scrap book of memories fades. I turn and look back, expecting to see my past behind me, but instead, it runs beside me as my future runs ahead. I can now look upon my past as the firm footing and for my future, knowing it will always run with me, unchanging through any path my future lays out for me, however treacherous it may be. My past leads me with my sweet memories unfinished until it finally catches my future. No longer do I run blindly into my future, I have my past to guide me.

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