I don’t know what you’re going through life doing if you’re not really trying to collect some really great memories. ~ Channing Tatum
Lives are a representation of the yearning to collect. A person isn’t just bone and muscle, blood and sinew. Human beings are biological recording devices, branding everything we experience and storing it within.
If we could invent a machine to replay the database of our gray matter, we might attain omniscient recall. Perhaps we could recount what really happened at the scene of that car accident or describe the details of a face glimpsed during a robbery or dissect that final, longing look or remember our promises to take out the trash.
As with anything we collect, our memories play favorites. And favor instances we’d like to forget.
Who knows why the first thing I remember is being eighteen months old? I can see the lights go out as my mother covered me with warm clothes from the dryer. I feel the soft safety of my cocoon, and I hear my shrieking laughter as I spring from the pile’s center and spew garments everywhere.
Or why I remember running into the barren cornfield and cutting my bare feet on the stumps.
Or how I can still feel the black-and-white spotted coat of my pet cow Boo.
Or why I see myself squatting over a mole hole and peeing, because going inside meant walking too far.
Or where I hid when I spilled unset ice trays from the freezer and listened to Mom rant about who could’ve left water all over the kitchen floor.
Or what my dog’s food tasted like.
All memories I collected as a toddler, snatches of time I can’t seem to forget.
And that’s what makes my collection of memories grand: It’s eclectic and bizarre and weird and unexplainable. I’m grateful for the moments that rise to the top.
Photograph Credit: Andra Watkins
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