The Fragile Threads of Memory


A fellow author and blogger I follow has written and posted numerous insightful essays regarding the purpose, the function, and the interaction and intersection of the mysterious processes of the human brain, the ‘mind’ if you will.

I have found that these essays often evoke a frenzy of emotions, thoughts, decision-making and  re-evaluations of decision-making moments and times in my life. Another very revealing reaction to his writings is the deluge of memories that flood my own mind, cascading and flowing in a furious river of thought. These memories often have literally nothing to do with the focus of the particular essay I am reading, but rather are the offspring of a broader, more fundamental realization triggered by the words in the essay itself.

To a lesser degree, I have experienced floating down this same river of memories when I re-read my own writings and view the photographs and contemplate the thoughts expressed in what I have tried to convey in my words.

I am no psychologist or expert on the workings of the human mind, but I do share the ability in all of us to ‘remember’. What puzzles me is the extremely fragile nature of the memories that are evoked. At times, the memory is exact and has a clarity that does not diminish, even when the moments remembered occurred half a century ago or more. Far more often though, the memory is fuzzy, incomplete, and sometimes even contains parts that I must conclude are imagined, since they cannot be corroborated to my satisfaction. I tend to consider those particular memories as  ‘threads’, a tenuous fiber of connection to something that happened, someone I knew, something I did, or perhaps should have done. Despite their fragility and almost ephemeral nature, I KNOW that they are just as real as any unclouded memory or thought.

The fragility of memory also intrigues me since, in many instances the SAME memory, or sequence of memories I experience, are triggered by DIFFERENT sources, different events, different people, and even different moments in time.  For me personally, there has been a fair amount of time of life thus far, so my trove of memories spans multiple decades. This is one of the more satisfying aspects of aging.

I find that I enjoy remembering.

I have found a great deal of happiness looking at photographs, re-reading books, listening to a wide variety of music and even making some of my own. Music has its’ own fantastical and mysterious ability to generate a torrent of memories. Such memories are often sweetening and tainted simultaneously. They evoke their own level of fragility and transience.

There have been, of course, certain events in my life that simply cannot be labeled as having provided ‘happy’  memories. This is true for all of us. Over the course of time however, I have uncovered a latent ability to take advantage of the fragility of the threads of memory and, without discarding the sadness, to strengthen and clarify the invaluable shards of memories shared with those we love in the here and now, and even more so with those we have known and loved in our own fragile lives. These human threads of memory will always be ‘remembered’.


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