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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Memory Lane

"Liz and Mag might not have any recollection of this, but Mike and I did a long loop down Hwy 99E and back up Hwy 99W on Saturday, looking for antique stores and other places of interest. On our way from the Aurora Antique Mall to the Donald Cafe for lunch, I drove us down Boones Ferry Road, past Nellie & Ryan's property ~ their house is gone and a new one is in its place ~ and down Feller Road to our old place. Amazing. It looked like it was on its last legs in the photos of us as kids, but it is still standing, looking very much the same with the exception of new (architecturally incorrect :) windows. "

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Kathy and I visited the Aurora house several years ago.  It certainly didn't have new widows then; in fact, it seemed some windows were left broken.  And it was quite rundown and sorrowful looking.  If it weren't for a car parked next to it, I would have thought it was abandoned.  That, of course, was not my memory of it.  Yes, the husk was there in the form of the house, but the nutritive part of the memory was not.

T.S. Eliot writes in "Burnt Norton," the first section of his poem "Four Quartets," about this experience of returning to a place you experienced as a child and the emotions and ruminations it can call forth:


Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened Into the rose-garden.
My words echo Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
Other echoes
Inhabit the garden. Shall we follow?
Quick, said the bird, find them, find them,
Round the comer. Through the first gate,
Into our first world, shall we follow
The deception of the thrush? Into our first world.
There they were, dignified, invisible,
Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air,
And the bird called, in response to
The unheard music hidden in the shrubbery,
And the unseen eyebeam crossed, for the roses
Had the look of flowers that are looked at.
There they were as our guests, accepted and accepting.
So we moved, and they, in a formal pattern,
Along the empty alley, into the box circle,
To look down into the drained pool.
Dry the pool, dry concrete, brown edged,
And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,
And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,
The surface glittered out of heart of light,
And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.
Then a cloud passed, and the pool was empty.
Go, said the bird, for the leaves were full of children,
Hidden excitedly, containing laughter.
Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.


The rose garden we revisit in older age isn't the same rose garden we experienced as a child.  Oh, it may still be there physically, but the voice and laughter, the tears, the original human experience, have left it.  So then what IS that place we remember?  Is it so much the physical location, or is it the experience we had?  Of course, it's the experience.

And, reaching for that experience, aren't we to always be disappointed because, residing only in our memory, it is not the same as it originally was.  It's now a reflection, a shadow, a whisper -- rather than a fleshy fruit, a smell of laundry drying on the line, a loved one's voice suddenly calling, a dear arm around our shoulder.

And do we want reality (even if different than it once was), or do we want merely to live in that shadowy dream?  If we want reality, then we must either turn away from asking that memory to fulfill us (recognizing that we will still always have it) and find those dear, beloved experiences in new places; or we must go back and live among those physical presences again - changed as they are - and create a new reality with new memories and experiences.

"What might have been and what has been point to one end, which is always present."

Sorry for waxing philosophical here, but Leslie's note just triggered it!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hannah's Espresso Mocha Cookies!

Words are not necessary. They're as yummy as they look, Hannah. Guess which of us made the regular size cookies and which of us made the BIG cookies? Thanks for the recipe. Love, Kathy + David
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